The annual prestigious hockey tournament, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men’s International Hockey Tournament is back for its 26th consecutive year, scheduled from April 26 till May 6 2017.
Joining Malaysia Men’s team this year is world number 1 ranked, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and Great Britain who last attended the cup in 2013. Previously ranked at 14th, Malaysia is currently ranked 13th in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) early this year.
“It can be assured that the games this year will be more fierce and challenging. Out of the six teams, four are currently in the top 10 rank of FIH. It will definitely be an interesting cup,” said the chairman of Sultan Azlan Shah (SAS) Cup, Dato Rahim Md Arif.
The Malaysian team finished fourth last year leaving Pakistan at 5th, Canada at 6th and Japan at 7th. Last year also saw Australia win the Azlan Cup for the ninth time after defeating India 4-0.
Preparing for the Men’s Hockey World Cup next year, the Malaysian team is determined to give their best for the SAS cup, “We are looking forward to this tournament. We finished fourth last year, so our aim now is to finish third, at least. Our boys are up against world number 1 (Australia), number 6 (India), number 7 (Great Britain), number 8 (New Zealand) and Japan currently ranked at 16th. This year is going to be a high-profile match and we hope our boys will do their best,” said the CEO of Malaysian Hockey Confederation, Logan Raj.
To be held at the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium, the 26th cup will be using a new turf called the Edel Grass Triple T System (Blue) an artificial grass solution used not only in hockey but also football, rugby, baseball, tennis and multi-sports applications. Aside from the SAS cup, the Raja Ashman Shah AHF-MHC Hockey Academy together with FIH and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) will be conducting several hockey-related courses such as the International High Performance Coaching Course 2017, International Professional Management Course 2017, Level 2 Coaching Course and Level 1 Coaching Course from April 29 to May 7.