Indian players try to get the ball away from a German in their Hockey World League Final 2014 match earlier this month. This year, India will not be participating in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time since it was introduced in 1983. – EPA Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will remain a seven-nation affair.
So far, the teams that have confirmed they are taking part in the March 13-23 tournament in Ipoh are Australia, Canada, France, South Korea and Pakistan. The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are waiting for South Africa to confirm their invitation.
The MHC had tried to get India to change their mind but to no avail. India will miss the tournament for the first time since it was introduced in 1983. The Indians have decided to go on a playing tour of Europe to prepare for the World Cup in May.
“We have sent a reminder to South Africa yesterday and we hope they will respond quickly, If not, we will invite another team as our aim is to have seven teams,” said MHC secretary general Datuk Johari Abdul Aziz.
“China are interested in playing in the tournament, but it all depends on whether the organisers are willing to include them,” added Johari.
Meanwhile, Canada will arrive in Malaysia on March 5 to acclimatise themselves. They are likely to play three matches with the national team.