Perak hockey had much to rejoice during the Liquorice All Sorts Keith Brown Challenge held at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.
The hockey tournament for veterans introduced in 2011 is popular among teams with members in the 40s and above age group.
It attracted an impressive number of former internationals with 24 players having represented the country at junior or senior international levels.
This year’s tournament attracted 13 teams from all over the country, including defending champions Cheers Hockey Club, Kelab Aman, 37,000 FT, Sathya Hockey Club, Melaka Old Boys, Sunday Hockey Group, St John’s Alumni, Royal Selangor Club, TPCA, Synergy, Ipoh Lads, debutants Chinese All Stars and hosts Liquorice All Sorts.
The appearance of former Malaysian fullback Foo Keat Seong, who had not been seen in the veterans’ scene for some time added extra interest to the one-day event.
Foo, who admitted he has not been active for quite some time, said he joined the Chinese All Stars at the request of another Perak player, Ng Aik Kin.
“I did not come here to win but to enjoy the occasion and have some fun.”
Foo, 59, captained the Malaysian team to the Junior World Cup in 1979 in Paris where the country finished fourth. He also played in the 1982 World Cup in Mumbai, India, and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Foo, who is from Ipoh, built a steady reputation as a short-corner specialist who converted many goals.
After retiring from the national team in 1985, Foo played for his employers Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for a few years before taking a long break from active hockey.
He returned later to play for Perak veterans at hockey tournaments in Ipoh.
Ipoh Lads took home the champion’s title in the Cup final beating St John’s Alumni 1-0.
The deciding match saw a flurry of exchanges between the two sides.
St John’s, led by captain and former international St John Davies, fought gallantly but the Ipoh forwards managed to make penetrating runs.
Sharan Kumar, who is the team manager as well, scored the winning goal just before the final whistle. The team was boosted by the presence of nine former internationals, namely Sharan, Anuar Mushadat, Ismail Jaafar, Vishnu Jaduray, Gokila Vijayan Naidu, Kulwant Singh, Thevadas Maniam, Logendran and Dewa Prakash.
“We controlled most of the game as our players could read the match well. It was a pleasure winning here as this is one of our favourite tournaments.”
Ipoh Lads was established 10 years ago to support and develop hockey at the junior, senior and veteran’s levels in Ipoh.
“We have 15 players among our veterans who are above 40 years and 16 players over 50. We work closely with the state government and the Perak Hockey Association,” added Sharan.
In the Plate final 37,000, FT beat Kelab Aman 1-0 to emerge champions while Synergy Hockey Club beat Sunday Hockey Group by a similar margin in the Bowl final.
Chinese All Stars were named the Most Sporting Team.
The tournament’s main sponsor was MPI Generali Insurans Berhad with Infinity International Consultants as co-sponsor.
Liquorice All Sorts was founded by British expatriate Keith Brown, who was present at the tournament.
“Eleven years ago I was in Malaysia and wanted to start playing hockey. I could not join any of the local clubs so I started my own club,” said the 67-year-old who now lives in New Zealand.
He started with three players including Malkit Kaur, the current Liquorice All Sorts chairman.
Today, the club has 35 players, in the senior and open categories.
The players meet every Friday in Kelab Aman and take part in many overseas tournaments including Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
“We play for fun. As they say, it’s one third hockey and two thirds fun,” said Malkit, who for many years was the team’s goalkeeper, one of the few women to play in that position.