Salalah, Oman, witnessed the thrilling start of the first-ever Men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023, a historic event in the world of field hockey. Following the success of the Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup, where India emerged as the champion, it was now the men’s turn to showcase their prowess in this fast-paced variant of field hockey. With India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, Oman, and Bangladesh competing in the Elite group and Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Iran vying for victory in the Challenger Pool, the stage was set for intense competition. This tournament also held the added significance of being the qualifier for the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024, with three teams set to earn their tickets to the global stage. Oman, as the host nation, had already secured their spot, making the stakes even higher for the participating teams.
Hong Kong China vs. Iran – A Spirited Start
The Men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023 began with a clash between Hong Kong China and Iran in the Challenger Pool. Iran displayed their dominance from the start, securing a convincing 7-2 victory. Goals from players like MIRZAKHANI Amirmahdi, HAMEDI Aref (x2), SALEHIPOUR Mohammadali (x2), TAHERIRAD Navid, and RAHCHAMANI Zabihollah showcased Iran’s offensive prowess. Despite their best efforts, Hong Kong China managed to score only two goals, courtesy of MONTHONG Windfall and IU Felix Chi Him. Iran’s victory set the tone for their campaign in this tournament. The Player of the Match award went to SHAHROKHI Mahdi (Shirt 14, Iran), acknowledging his outstanding performance.
Indonesia vs. Kazakhstan – Debutants Battle
The second match of the day featured two debutant teams, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, both aiming to make their mark in the Challenger Pool. Kazakhstan secured a 4-1 victory, with ATWO Frank netting Indonesia’s lone goal. Kazakhstan’s goals from DUISENGAZY Agymtay, KUATOV Azat (x2), and YELUBAYEV Aman highlighted their strength. Kazakhstan’s win placed them in second place in the pool standings, while Indonesia found themselves in fourth. This victory marked a promising start for Kazakhstan in their quest for qualification. The Player of the Match award was presented to VISHNYAKOV Lenur (Shirt 32, Kazakhstan), recognizing his standout performance.
India vs. Bangladesh – Elite Pool Action
The first match of the Elite Pool featured an intense clash between India and Bangladesh. India displayed their dominance, defeating Bangladesh with a staggering scoreline of 15-1. RAHEEL Mohammed led the scoring for India with a hat-trick, supported by goals from MOR Mandeep, TIRKEY Dipsan, SINGH Maninder (x4), SINGH Gurjot (x2), Sukhvinder (x2), and RAJBHAR Pawan (x2). SAROWAR Sawon managed to net Bangladesh’s only goal. India’s resounding victory sent a strong message to their competitors in the Elite Pool. The Player of the Match award was rightfully bestowed upon RAHEEL Mohammed (Shirt 10, India) for his stellar performance.
Pakistan vs. Japan – A Dominant Display
The second Elite Pool match witnessed Pakistan’s powerhouse team taking on Japan in their tournament debut. Pakistan showcased their supremacy, scoring a remarkable 26 goals, while Japan managed to find the back of the net only once. This impressive victory solidified Pakistan’s position at the top of the pool standings. The Player of the Match award was presented to RANA Abdul (Captain, Shirt 08, Pakistan) for his exceptional leadership and performance.
Malaysia vs. Oman – Hosts Face Tough Competition
In the final match of the day and the third in the Elite Pool, tournament hosts Oman faced a formidable challenge in the form of Malaysia, who were determined to secure a spot in the 2024 World Cup. Despite the home advantage, Oman couldn’t deter the Malaysian onslaught, conceding ten goals. MOHARAM Muhibddin (x3), ANUAR Akhimullah (x3), MAT Syarman (x3), and ABU Ismail were the scorers for Malaysia, while Oman managed to reply with goals from AL FAZARI Rashad, AL SHAAIBI Khalid, MADIT Aiman, and BAIT SHAMAIAA Mahmood. Malaysia’s resolute performance put them in a strong position for World Cup qualification. The Player of the Match award was presented to MOHARAM Muhibddin (Shirt 07, Malaysia) for his outstanding contributions to his team’s victory.
The opening day of the Men’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman, was nothing short of spectacular. The tournament promises intense competition as teams battle for the coveted qualification spots for the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024. With India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Iran making strong statements with their victories, the road ahead is paved with excitement and anticipation. As the tournament progresses, fans can expect more thrilling matches and exceptional displays of skill in the captivating world of Hockey5s. Stay tuned for more updates from this historic tournament that is shaping the future of field hockey in Asia.