Zulaikha shines in hockey team’s loss to Ireland


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s women’s team lost 1-2 to Ireland in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament but they can take heart from Siti Zulaikha Husain’s inspiring performance.

The 18-year-old, playing in only her seventh match for the country, was the catalyst for the team’s fightback in the third and fourth quarter when she scored in the 55th minute at the Banbridge Hockey Club in Ireland on Saturday.

The pint-sized striker was happy to justify her spot in the team.

“It felt good to score even though we lost. I now have the belief that I can get the goals against other teams too,” said Siti Zulaikha.

“The team gave a good fight against Ireland, who are ranked eighth in the world.

“We were unlucky to concede the two goals, but it will inspire us to do better in our upcoming group matches.”

World No. 22 Malaysia’s next match is against No. 35 Singapore and they must win to stay in contention for a top-two finish in the tournament.

Malaysia will wrap up their fixtures against world No. 19 Czech Republic tomorrow.

The group winners qualify for the semi-finals while the second and third-placed teams of each group will play in crossover ties for the remaining two semi-final spots.

The finalists of this tournament will secure a playoff spot to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.