In a few hours’ time, the first match of the 9th Asia Cup Men’s Hockey Tournament 2013 will begin with India playing Oman at 4. 05pm followed by Pakistan versus Japan at 6.05 pm.
The highlight of the first day’s tournament will be the Malaysia – Chinese Taipei clash at 8.05pm.
Malaysia will meet Pakistan on Sunday, August 25 also at 8.05pm.
As witnessed during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year, whenever our team was in the pitch attendance swelled. This provides the encouragement they need to play to the gallery. Hopefully, the scenario will be the same for all their Asia Cup matches.
Malaysia is “virtually” assured of a slot in next year’s World Cup due to its 5th place finish in the World League in Johore Baru last month and is currently the second reserve after Spain. The confirmation of a berth will be upon completion of the ongoing European Championship.
Nevertheless, Coach Revington reiterated his commitment at a press conference yesterday. “We may have secured a place in the World Cup but our objective is to win gold at the Asia Cup in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. It’ll be a milestone for Malaysian hockey,” he enthused.
According to Media Officer Kamaruzaman Hj Hassan, all 8 teams had arrived on Thursday, August 22. Seven of the teams are staying at the Impiana Hotel with the exception of Chinese Taipei who are staying at the Fair Park Hotel.
Kamaruzaman announced that Astro TV would be providing live coverage throughout the tournament.
On arrival most of the teams were busy training at Stadium Azlan Shah at different times of the day.
Ipoh City Hockey Association held a ‘little hi-tea’ as a welcome gesture for the visiting Umpires and officials which included Tournament Director Ramesh Appo from Singapore as well as Umpire Manager Amarjit Singh.
It is all systems go for the biggest hockey event ever held in Ipoh.
Now, let the game begin.
Mohd Ramdan is pleased to be selected. He thanked Revington for giving him the opportunity to play in the Asia Cup. “I’ll give my best,” he remarked. Ramdan was a member of the team that won the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last year.
The Perak Hockey Association (PHA) launched its website on Monday, August 19.
The association, which has been in existence since 1927, is the organiser of the upcoming Asia Cup hockey tournament beginning on Saturday, August 24 and ending on Sunday, September 1.
The website was launched by Perak Sports Council Director, Hj Musa Dun along with PHA President, Dato’ Abdul Rahim Mat Ariff.
Present at the ceremony were the Secretary General of Asian Hockey Federation, Tan Sri P. Alagendra and Malaysian Hockey Confederation Honorary Secretary, Hj Mohd Johari Abd Aziz.
The website perakhockey.org will detail the history and achievements of PHA, as well as news about hockey activities in the state. It will also carry media statements and provide up-to-date results of the Asia Cup tournament.
Mohd Johari Abd Aziz announced that the remaining two players in the national squad for the Asia Cup will be named after the friendly game with India slated for this evening, Tuesday, August 20.
The match will be played at Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh commencing at 7.30 pm. He encouraged fans to come in number to support the home team. Admission is free.
Perak’s first duathlon, tagged “My Duathlon @ The Haven” will be held on Sunday, August 25 beginning at 6.30am.
Unlike traditional triathlon where participants have to run, swim and cycle, the 30-km duathlon will require participants to run, cycle and run.
They have to run the first 5 km then cycle 20 km before finishing with a 5-km run. The final 600 metres is through The Haven before the finish line.
The event is a joint effort by My Triathlon Shop and Perak’s premier cycling club, Kelab Roadrunners Ipoh (KRI), the organiser of the annual Century Ride.
Karen Geh of My Triathlon Shop said she chose to organise the duathlon at The Haven because she was impressed with the location, its beautiful scenery and fresh morning air. “The participants could complete the course while in a very natural environment,” she said.
Geh added that there is no time limit. “As such it takes away the stress and allows the participants to enjoy nature along the route.”
KRI President, Chong Him Shoong said the event has attracted participants from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. He anticipated a thousand participants to register before the closing date. .
Chong announced that the Brooks-KRI Annual Run, the 15th in the series, will be held on Sunday, October 6 also at The Haven.
The run will feature a 10-km and a 21-km route to appeal to a wider range of participants and family members.
With the 9th Asia Cup starting on August 24, the Malaysian squad, under coach Paul Revington, was in town for three days of training till Thursday, August 15.
The first day of training saw the squad going through their routines with Revington consistently
reminding them to keep moving.
According to Revington, the three-day stint was for the players to get used to the pitch again. Training was held every morning and evening each day.
When asked which Asian team would be Malaysia’s strongest contender, Revington replied that all teams were equally good and would put up a challenge. “However, we want to win and make it to the World Cup.”
The team had a good 6-day break since Raya and now is tuning up to produce results.
Regarding Chua Boon Huat, Revington said the whole team missed him and described his sudden demise as untimely and also unfortunate. He would name Chua’s replacement on Friday, after the training stint.
Meanwhile, Perak Hockey Association stated that all the teams would check-in by Thursday, August 22 with the Indian team arriving on Saturday, August 17. The association has revised the match schedule, a copy of which is posted below.
Shaheen Sports Club of Hong Kong, a member of the Hong Kong Hockey Association, was in Ipoh from August 9 to 14 participating in friendly matches and coaching stints organised by Ipoh Lads, as part of its Malaysia Hockey Tour 2013.
Forty three players from the club, led by Tour Manager, Ahmed Khan, were accommodated at the Fair Park Hotel for the whole duration of their stay.
According to Khan, this is their third tour of Malaysia and their first in Ipoh. The Malaysia tour is part of the club’s preparation of their squad for the upcoming Hong Kong hockey league scheduled for in September.
The club had test matches with Project School Teams and Ipoh Lads.
Khan described the facilities in Ipoh as excellent. As their hotel was close by, commuting was easy.
“The few high-rise buildings and the good air quality make Ipoh an ideal location for training” said Khan to Ipoh Echo.
Perak Hockey Association Chairman and Asia Cup Organising Chairman Dato Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff when contacted, acknowledged that the preparations for the tournament are ready.
Currently the facilities and schedules are ready and the organizers are waiting for the team list and training schedules datelined at the end of July.
The tournament will have eight countries participating. The Group A teams are Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan and Chinese-Taipei while Group B consists of Korea, India, Bangladesh and Oman.
The first day’s matches on Saturday August 24 will be played between India and Oman (2.05pm), Pakistan and Japan (6.05pm) and Malaysia and Chinese-Taipei (8pm).
This Asia Cup event is a qualifier for the World Cup to be held in The Hague, Netherlands next year. Currently none of the Asian teams have yet qualified to play at the World Cup. Hence hockey fans can expect to see some intense matches between these Asian teams as they battle it out for that single ticket for the World Cup.
Malaysia’s Coach Paul Revington, who a month ago had threatened to quit but has since resolved his issues, was quoted as saying to be “looking forward to working with other coaches and officials and win the Asia Cup gold in Ipoh”.
Going by the previous scene during the last Sultan Azlan Shah tournament held in March this year where fans could be seen enthusiastically cheering on Revington’s boys, I dare say we can expect more of the same which will hopefully stir the Malaysia team to a solid victory. Malaysia’s best placing in the last eight Asia Cup tournaments was in 2007 when we finished in third place beating Japan 5-3 while finishing in 4th place four times.
Perak FA head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah has officially revealed that he will be utilising some of the President Cup players for the upcoming Malaysia Cup campaign.
The Seladangs are currently preparing for the tournament and Azraai has called up six names from the highly talented Perak President Cup squad, including the likes of Mugenthirran, Nurhakim Isa and Syamil.
Speaking to Ipoh Echo, Azraai said, “I have always liked the idea of developing youth players and that is exactly what I’ll do for the Malaysia Cup. Six players have been brought in from the President Cup squad and I’m hoping they’ll make a big impression.”
“Mugen and Syamil in particular, netted 14 goals each in the President Cup, and that’s a terrific start for players of their age. So, hopefully, these guys will be able to make us proud by doing well.”
Preparation for the Malaysia Cup has been going well, despite them only being able to train at night due to the fasting month of Ramadan. However, a mini crisis erupted recently when Thai side Muangthong United expressed their desire in prematurely ending Paulo Rangel’s loan stint in Ipoh.
“We’ve been training from 10pm to 12am every day due to the fasting month but everything seems to be going well.”
“Yes, Muangthong wants Paulo back but the man wants to stay, so that’s a good thing. We’ve expressed our desire to keep him so I think he’ll remain here.”
The Malaysia Cup should be an interesting battle ground for Perak, as they seek to regain some pride from what has been a frustrating year. Azraai’s decision to empower the Perak youth players is commendable. Let us hope it will reap dividends.
For more information and registration, contact Ms. Liew at 05-2437067 / 016-5046933 or En. Izzadi at 016-5503238. Entry forms are also downloadable from http://db.tt/BTgil82j