Much-needed exposure for hockey team in two meets

PETALING JAYA: The Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the postponed Hangzhou Asian Games could have been the ideal preparation for the Speedy Tigers’ World Cup mission next year but the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are not complaining.

Instead the Tigers will look towards the Nations Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from Nov 28-Dec 4 as part of their build-up for the world meet that starts from Jan 13-29.

The tournament is for the eight highest ranked teams not participating in the Hockey Pro League.

Initially, the clash of dates with the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from Nov 15-25 made it impossible for Malaysia to participate.

However, a change of dates for the Azlan Shah Cup (Nov 1-10) have paved the way for Malaysia to gain some much-needed exposure.

“The Nations Cup offers ranking points that will be helpful for Malaysia in the World Cup and also provide quality matches in our preparations,” said MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.

“Including the Azlan Shah Cup, we should have enough matches as part of our run-up for the World Cup.”

South Korea, Japan and Pakistan have confirmed their participation for the Azlan Shah Cup.

As for the Nations Cup, Malaysia will be joined by hosts South Africa, France, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Ireland and Pakistan.

Apart from these two tournaments, the Tigers will be involved in a four-nation friendly series in Spain in September and another series against New Zealand in December.

Malaysia had declined to compete in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in order to focus on their Asia Cup assault in Jakarta (May 23-June 1) where they finished runner-up and the Hangzhou Asian Games (Sept 28-Oct 8).

However, the Asiad was postponed due to Covid-19 and the multi-event Games will now be held next year at the same dates.

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