Kuala Lumpur (7 February, 2017): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have drafted Malaysia alongside hosts Bangladesh in Pool A of the Hockey World League Round-2 which is scheduled to get underway from March 4 at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium.
Malaysia, placed 13th in world rankings and third in Asia, came as the replacement for Canada who has 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 are placed 32 in the FIH Hero World Rankings and won the Asian Hockey Federation Cup for the third consecutive time last year.
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 eight Premier League teams requesting the release of national players on Monday and Tuesday to join national team training in the midst of the league. The team officials were briefed by Logan, MHC Technical Director Terry Walsh and senior team head coach Stephen van Huizen.
“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.”