Kuala Lumpur (7 February 2017): Malaysia will play in the Men’s Hockey World League Round 2 in Dhaka which is scheduled to get underway from March 4-12 at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has drafted Malaysia alongside hosts Bangladesh in Pool A of the Hockey World League Round-2, thus ending a week-long speculation of which team will fill the void left vacant by the withdrawal of Canada.
Placed 13th in the FIH Hero World Rankings and third in Asia, the Malaysians are now the replacement team for the Canadians who recently pulled out of the competition citing security concerns.
Stephen van Huizen’s Malaysia’s Tigers, who are the highest ranked team in Dhaka now, were earlier scheduled to compete in the Hockey World League Round 2 in Trinidad and Tobago from March 25 to April 2. However, with this latest development, the Malaysians will now gear up for the challenges in Dhaka after the conclusion of the ongoing TNBMHL Premier League.
The other teams in Group A are Oman (WR: 31) and Fiji (WR: 67). The Bangladeshis, who won the Asian Hockey Federation Cup for the third consecutive time last year, are placed 32 in the FIH Hero World Rankings.
Teams placed in Pool B are China (WR: 18), Egypt (WR: 20), Sri Lanka (WR: 42) and Ghana (WR: 43). The top two teams in Dhaka qualify for the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in London from 15-27 June 2017 – a qualifying event for the 2018 World Cup,
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Chief Executive Officer, K. Logan Raj, said MHC has received an offer from FIH to play in Dhaka HWLR2 instead of Trinidad & Tobago.
“Upon consultation with the respective bodies which include the coaches, Technical Director, Coaching Chairman and members of the Executive Board, and taking into consideration various matters that generally contribute to our decision-making process, MHC would like to officially inform that the national team will be heading to Dhaka to participate in the Men’s Hockey World League Round 2.”
The Dhaka phase will have its curtain lifted through a fixture between China and Ghana while Malaysia is set to play the fourth and final match of the opening day on March 4 against the host followed by matches against Oman (March 5) and Fiji on March 7.
All quarterfinals matches are scheduled on March 9 followed by the semi-finals on March 11 and final on March 12.
The MHC had on Monday called for a meeting with coaches and managers of the ongoing TNBMHL Premier League teams requesting the release of players to join national team training in the midst of the league.
“It was a very amicable meeting and the team managers concurred with our request,” said Logan. “National team players involved in the Premier League will attend training on these two days before returning to play for their respective clubs in the league in the same week.”
Bangladesh Hockey Federation general secretary, Abdus Sadeque, confirmed Malaysia’s participation in the Dhaka edition of the Hockey World League Round 2.
“Today we have got the revised schedule for the Hockey World League Round-2 from FIH (International Hockey Federation) and saw the name of Malaysia in place of Canada.”