Monday, September 2, 2013

Malaysia qualify for World Cup 2014

Korean success at Asia Cup guarantees Malaysia ticket to The Hague

BY FIH -- Malaysia men have become the latest team to achieve qualification for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014, the International Hockey Federation’s showpiece event which takes place in The Hague, Netherlands.
The joint men’s and women’s competition takes place from 31st May to 15th June next year, with the 15,000-seater Kyocera Stadium playing host to the finest international hockey teams in the world.
Malaysia’s berth at the summer spectacular was guaranteed following Korea’s dramatic 4-3 triumph over India in the final of the men’s Asia Cup 2013 in Ipoh (MAS).
Like all of the continental championships, the big prize on offer at the Asia Cup was direct World Cup qualification to the event winner. However, with Korea having recently been promoted from first reserves to confirmed World Cup qualifiers thanks to Argentina’s victory in the Pan American Cup, the door was opened to the other reserves for the tournament. Last weekend, second reserves Spain were confirmed for the event courtesy of Germany’s success in TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, meaning that third reserves Malaysia become the team to benefit from Korea’s Asia Cup victory.
Malaysia are the tenth men’s team to qualify for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, with two more places up for grabs at the upcoming continental championships in Oceania and Africa. Eight women’s teams have also been confirmed for the event, with the remaining places going to the winners of the Asian, Oceania, Pan American and African continental championships.
More information about the World Cup qualifiers and qualifying process can be found below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Men’s Qualifiers 
Netherlands: Hosts.
Germany: Continental champions Europe
Argentina: Continental champions Pan America
Korea: Continental champions Asia
England: 3rd place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS)
Belgium: 1st place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
Australia: 2nd place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
New Zealand: 4th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED) *
Spain: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED). **
Malaysia: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS) ***

* Netherlands finished third in the Hockey World League Semi-Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this means that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi-Final events earns direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place goes to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and currently sit fifth in the FIH World Rankings.
** Spain qualified as second reserve courtesy of Germany’s victory in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships. Spain (5th in Rotterdam) were named second reserve ahead of Malaysia (5th in Johor Bahru) courtesy of a superior placing in the FIH World Rankings.
*** Malaysia qualified as third reserve courtesy of Korea’s victory in the Asia Cup 2013.

World Cup Qualification - The Next Stage
The remaining places at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup for men will be filled by the winners of the final two continental championships. However, if any of the above listed teams also becomes continental champion it will open the door to the team that finished outside the top three at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals that has not yet qualified for the World Cup. This team can be found below.    
India: 6th in Rotterdam / 4th reserve for World Cup.

Fitri to skipper Sultan of Johor Cup..

NATIONAL senior player Fitri Saari has been named as skipper for the six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup, which will be played at the Taman Daya Stadium on Sept 22-29.
   Yesterday, national Juniors coach K. Dharmaraj selected 18 players, and two more reserves, for the tournament which will also serve as a Junior World Cup warm-up.
   The other teams in the Sultan of Johor Cup are Argentina, England, Pakistan, India and South Korea.
    "And with England and Pakistan in our World Cup group, it would be a valuable match to prepare for our quest to play in the semi-finals in new Delhi," said Dharmaraj.
   The other team in Malaysia's group is South Africa, but they pulled out of the Sultan of Johor Cup due to lack of money.
    The 20-year-old Fitri, from Terengganu, has 58 caps, and also played in the just concluded Asia Cup in Ipoh.
    Dharmaraj's side will also be powered by four other national players – defenders Faiz Jali and Izad Hakimi, midfielder Meor Azuan and forward Firhan Ashaari.
    All except for Meor featured in the Asia Cup team and Firhan scored four goals in the tournament.
    The national juniors, minus the four who played with the seniors in Ipoh, just returned from a playing Tour in Australia where they got whipped.
   "We lost  all four matches, but took the Aussies to the wire in our last match where we took the lead, then went down 1-3 before scoring another to lose narrowly 2-3.
   "However, in the earlier matches, we lost 6-2, 1-0 and 7-1 to the 2009 Junior World Cup bronze medallists," said Dharmaraj.
   The juniors named for the Sultan of Johor tournament in Johor will not feature in the Razak Cup, which begins on Thursday in Kuantan. 

Sultan of Johor Cup
Goalkeepers: Hazrul Faiz, Hafizuddin Othman
Defenders: Faiz Helmi , Izad Hakimi, Kavin Kartik, Zulhairi Hashim, Nor Aqmal Ghaffar
Midfielders: Fitri Saari (captain), Azri Hassan, Meor Azuan Hassan, Shazril Irwan, Haziq Samsul
Forwards: Firhan Ashaari, Syamim Yusof, Rashid Baharom,  Shahril Saabah, Azwar Abdul Rahman, Hafiz Zainol

  The two reserves: Joel Samuel van Huizen, Shazrul Imran Nazli.

Learn, or be trampled at the World Cup..

MALAYSIA'S best chance to win the Asia Cup title vanished in Ipoh over the weekend,
but Paul Revington and his men must rise from the ashes as they only have nine
months to prepare for next year's World Cup.
   The 12-team tournament will be held in the Netherlands on May 31 to June 15, and

Malaysia must prepare a decent side to better their eighth placing achieved when they
last played at the elite level at the Kuala Lumpur 2002 World Cup.
    To date, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has named nine teams which have

qualified and they are Germany, Netherlands, England, Belgium, Australia, New
Zealand, Spain, Argentina and South Korea.
    The FIH are awaiting for the completion of the Africa Cup of Nations at Nairobi on

Sept 26-Oct 5 and the Oceania Cup on Oct 28-Nov 3 before they can officially
announce the other three teams.
   However, the World League system will also see India and Malaysia qualify, leaving

the last berth which is expected to go to South Africa after the end of the Africa Cup.
   So in acuatlity, all 12 teams can be named today, and 13th ranked Malaysia  will be

the lowest ranked team in the 2014 World Cup.
   Only eighth ranked Pakistan are missing from the 12-team tournament, while the rest

 of the top-12 World ranked teams have qualified as expected.
    It was no easy feat for Revington and his men, as they battled with the best to finish

fifth in the World League in Johor Baru to achieve the feat.
    But in Ipoh, some of the players looked like they ran out of ideas and game

approach, while one looked like he had too much of outside the camp life and was
limp and listless on the picth.
   This so called Super Star in the making, was seen a few times after midnight at the

makan stalls around Ipoh with friends, as it looked like there was no curfew for him
while the rest were at the team hotel.
    Discipline must be installed early, and it is dangerous for players who are easily

recognisable to break camp curfew, because if they get into trouble, they only have
themselves to blame.
   Malaysia lost the bronze to Pakistan 3-1, who even beat Paul Revington's men in the

group stages 4-1, and the Green Shirts are only ranked eighth in the world.
   In the World Cup, Malaysia might be grouped together with Germany, Belgium and

the Netherlands and if they continue to play like they did in the Asia Cup, Malaysia re
in for a sound beating.
     Revington must shoulder some of the blame for a poor finish in Ipoh, as the more

than 30 penalty corners were direct attempts with only a single set-piece in the bronze
playoff against Pakistan.
    Needless to say, the penalty corner deflection attempt by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin

went wrong, as he lacked practice in the group stages.
   The coach must learn, just like his players, to adapt to a match after five minutes of

play, and not follow the same regimental approach which is easily read by their
    South Korea showed that they are still the best in Asia after winning their fourth

gold in nine editions by beating India 4-3, Pakistan hold the distinction of winning three, while India have won two previously.
      Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo summed up what Malaysia need to do to improve:

"When we lost 2-0 to India in the group stages, I watched the video again and again
until I came up with a game-plan to beat them in the final. We need to constantly learn
and adapt to win matches.
    "Even though three Asian teams have qualified for the World Cup, it is not going to

be easy for us as Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), Argentina and all the
European teams are at least three steps ahead of us now.
    "We need to keep on learning after every match, if not, the Asian teams will end up as the bottom three in the World Cup next year."