KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah wants the national hockey team to forget about the past and think of the future.
Malaysia have failed to qualify for the last four Olympics and the focus will be on the side coached by Roelant Oltmans to overcome the past failures and reach the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Malaysia will play two playoff matches against Britain on Nov 2 and 3 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London to win a slot for the Olympics.
Malaysia are ranked 11th in the world and the last time they featured in the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000.
Al-Sultan Abdullah said all Malaysians want to see the national team defy the odds against world No. 7 Britain to win a place in the Olympics.
“I pray victory will favour the Malaysian Tigers. I hope all players will continue to give their best.
“Make sure that you are all super fit... eat sufficiently. Insya Allah (God willing) after departing (for London), you will all play to your best form for the country.
“Play for the whole rakyat (nation) of Malaysia and not forgetting the King and Queen of Malaysia, ” said Al-Sultan Abdullah at a hi-tea hosted by him and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah for the national hockey squad at Istana Negara.
The royal couple were met by Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.
Al-Sultan Abdullah, who was the MHC president from 2008 to 2015, also plans to invite other national athletes to attend similar programmes during his reign as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“I am looking forward to today’s event... to invite athletes or national players. Not just the hockey team. But today is rather special. Just to let you know you are the first team to come to Istana Negara to have tea with me, ” he said.
The Malaysian team will depart for Amsterdam on Oct 25 to get used to the chilly conditions in Europe and they will also play two matches against club sides before taking on Britain in the playoff matches.
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