But the national team still failed miserably and missed the Olympics boat for the fifth straight time.
The last time Malaysia made the Olympics hockey competition was in Sydney in 2000.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) revealed the figures after a post-mortem on the failures of the men’s and women’s teams to reach the Olympics.
Malaysia had a golden chance to qualify for the Olympics in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
In the final, Malaysia blew a 5-2 lead to allow Japan to come back from three goals down to level at 6-6 and force a penalty shootout. Japan won the shootout 3-1.
After failing in the Asiad, Malaysia had another chance to qualify for the Olympics via two play-off matches against Britain in London last November.
But Malaysia lost 9-3 on aggregate (losing the first match 4-1 and the second 5-2).
Millions were spent by the MHC for the men’s team to play as many matches as possible and they also got experts from Holland and Australia to help the team.
Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans, who was in charge of the team since October 2018, had a poor outing in the 2018 World Cup in India as Malaysia finished a disappointing 15th among 16 teams.
MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal admitted that there is no excuse as to why the men’s team did not qualify.
“The team did their best regardless of the outcome. This post mortem was held to identify the reasons and discuss the budget spent on the hockey team over the last four years.
“We have called up both the men’s and women’s national players to ask them about the team failing to qualify for the Olympics.
“We want to hear from the players first before we talk to the national coaches why they failed,” said Subahan.
Mohd Fitri Saari, who commanded the midfield, admitted one of the reasons is that the team cannot play under pressure.
“We always crumble under pressure and this is one area we need to work on,” said Fitri.
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