Sunday, June 21, 2015

Barely 3-2 ...

MALAYSIA just did enough to beat China 3-2. But if they play like this against Ireland, we will not qualify for the Olympics.


Betting on sun to shine on Malaysia

SUMMER in Belgium is a week late, and even the locals are still in their jackets waiting for the sun to shine.
  The famous outdoor bars in Antwerp still display empty chairs and tables, while its packed to the brim indoors, with everybody waiting anxiously for more heat this summer.
  The World League Semifinals, an Olympic Qualifier, started yesterday with the women's teams and men's Group A matches, and the KHC Red Dragons stadium was ready in every aspect to host the multitude of teams -- all playing at one pitch only.
  Malaysia's first recorded match against Belgium was at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the final score was 3-3, with 1-1 at half-time. The Malaysian heroes who scored then were C. Paramalingam (40th, 53rd) and Koh Hock Seng (32nd).
  Belgium were better in hockey even earlier, in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics they finished seventh, Singapore eighth and Malaysia ninth among 12 teams.
  However, in Melbourne Malaysia did not cross paths with Belgium, in a tournament which Kenya were 10th, Afghanistan 11th and USA 12th.
  Hockey has always been a proud tradition here, and KHC Dragons alone has 1,800 members with 1,400 of them active players.
  The Belgians, who speak Dutch in Antwerp, French in Brussels and English everywhere, are blessed to have borders with Germany, Netherlands and France as playing hockey with other nations is just a bus ride away.
  Unlike Malaysia, who needs to take a flight to India, Pakistan, Japan or South Korea to play quality matches.
  So its no surprise that Belgium are the most improved team in field hockey in the last five years as they finished fifth on three occassions -- the 2012 London Olympics and Champions Trophy in Melbourne, as well as last year's World Cup at the Netherlands.
   Asian teams India, Pakistan, South Korea and Malaysia are now no match for the Belgians, and in the World League they are expected to be in the semi-finals and qualify for the Olympics.
  As for Malaysia, they open their campaign against China today wearing a black arm-band and a minute of silence will be observed for the tragedy which befell our goalkeeper S. Kumar.
  Hopefully, the sun will smile on the Malaysian team today and there will be sunshine moments which will eventually take the nation into the Olympics after being in the grey shades of winter for the past 16 years.

Case of missing Azerbaijan and Malaysia's missed chance...

THE Malaysian women's hockey team missed a chance of a lifetime to play in the World League Semifinals in Belgium after Azerbaijan went missing on transit at Turkey.
    Their non arival in Belgium made the International Hockey Federation press the panic button to call up reserve teams from the World League Round Two and the Malaysian women were among the five teams offered as replacements on Friday 7am.
    The Malaysian women had finished third in the WL Round Two in New Delhi and are ranked 21st in the world, but declined due to time constrain. They had recently won gold at the Sea Games but travelling and recovering from jet lag at the 11th hour invitation was the reason Malaysia had to give up a chance to play in Belgium.
   France, ranked 24th, took up the offer and crosed over the border in two hours  to replace Azerbaijan. France will now have the opportunity to play for one of the three guaranteed tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games available in Belgium
   Meanwhile, in the men's Group A matches played late Saturday, Asian giants India and Pakistan could only scrape past lower ranked European teams.
   India struggled to beat France 2-1 while Pakistan posted the same score against Poland