Jun 20, 2011


Malaysia’s crushing 12-5 defeat to India which put paid to their hopes of playing in the FIP Polo World Cup Finals, saw its first casualty in the national team when Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin announced that he is quitting international duty.

From now on the 36-year-old Pekan-born Edham or Ed, as he is popularly known, who started playing polo at the age of 16, said it will be only league and club tournaments for him.

The on-going Asian-Australasian-African Polo Championships also serve as the Zone D Qualifier for the World Cup Finals. The champions, runners-up and the third place winner will go to the Finals which will be held in San Luis, Argentina from Oct 11-25.

Malaysia beat New Zealand 9-8 in their first match but the defeat to India proved costly, leaving the hosts with a minus 6 goal difference.

“I have yet to overcome the heavy defeat. I had a sleepless night and kept tossing and turning in bed to find answers for the defeat. It is all over for me. This is my last international tournament playing for my country.

“The next World Cup Finals is in 2014, by which time I will be 39 and I don’t think I will be able to last the pace. This defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. It is a sad way to go out of the World Cup in this manner.

“It is all the more disappointing for me because I am playing in my home town. I am sorry to have disappointed my fans and supporters. If they are disappointed, the disappointment is triple for me.

“There is still something to play for... the round robin and we will go out with dignity. Hopefully, we will be able to give some cheer to our supporters.”

“I still have another two years of polo but it will be only local league and club tournaments for me. What happens after that is left to be seen. It was our best chance to qualify for the World Cup Finals but it is now a shattered dream,” said Edham, who has played high goal tournaments all over the world.

In his professional polo career, Edham has played in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Argentina, the United States and England. He is a three time winner of the Rolex International in Singapore and counts the RMPA (Royal Malaysian Polo Association) Cup (2003) and the 25 de Mayo medium goal tournaments in Argentina as his best wins. He is also a three winner of the Thai Polo Open.

Edham’s talent was spotted at the age of 16 and was sent to Argentina for apprenticeship. There was no turning for the talented Edham since then for the son of a professional.

With age catching up, Edham is also contemplating to tie the knot and raise a family. However, Edham was not willing to reveal much on this but said: “There is someone in my life.”

In the same breath, Edham revealed that he will be able to spend more time on his hobby – Superbikes.

“I enjoy riding the big bikes. It is just a hobby and I won’t go into serious racing,” added Edham.

Meanwhile, Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said he will have a look at the whole team before deciding on the next move.

In yesterday’s only match, which ended the preliminary round fixtures, Pakistan, with a 1 ½ goal advantage, beat South Africa 12 ½ - 10. It was Pakistan’s second win in as many matches. Pakistan and India finished with four points each, however, Pakistan topped the group on better goal difference of 10 1/2 to India’s 7 ½.

Despite the defeat, South Africa also moved into the last four with, finishing third with two points – the same as Australia – but with a superior goal difference of plus 6 to Australia’s 1 ½.

Saqib Khakwani was on form for Pakistan with six goals while Ahmed Tiwana scored four and Temur Nadeem one. Three goals apiece by Johan Du Preez, Lance Watson and Duncan Watson and Campbell Macrae one completed South Africa’s scoresheet.

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