Azlan Shah Cup – reduced to just another date in Hockey calendar

In what can be considered the weakest field of invited teams. , the 28th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be held from March 23 to March 30 in Ipoh.

Since it’s inception in 1983, the world’s longest running invitational tournament has never failed to attract the participation of the 10 top ranked teams in the world.

The tournament, first mooted by HRH Sultan Azlan Shah was introduced to bring world class Hockey to Malaysian shores and at the sane time provide the host nation an opportunity to cross sticks with the world’s top teams.

This year though, it will see the participation of somewhat weaker nations, India, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia

India and Canada are ranked above Malaysia who are currently 13 in the world rankings.

And it is said that this would be the best chance for Malaysia to win the title which has eluded them since the first year.

The introduction of the FIH Pro League is said to be the cause of some top Hockey nations giving the SASC a miss.

But this will be an annual thing from now on and it’s best that something be done to overcome this issue.

One suggestion could be to move the dates of the Azlan Shah Cup to after June as that will give those involved in Europe a chance to play as often the European Teams shy away when held between February and April.

So with the Hockey India league moved to November , perhaps its best that the Azlan Shah Cup Be lived to end January.

Another method is to engage the AHF and FIH to look into a window within the Pro League to allow teams to play in the Azlan Shah Cup.

Back to this years Azlan Shag Cup, the decision to invite Canada who ate our main contenders for the World League Finals in KL is also mind boggling.

Here we are providing an opportunity for then to get used to the playing conditions at our expense literally.

And since Malaysia is the third highest ranked team in the tournament, there is already chest thumping going on that we should win the title this time around,

No disrespect to the players or opponents, but when we invite the likes of Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar, only then we can safely say we will win the trophy and give s sweet twist of spectrum by a boasting right of registering the highest score ever.

Ring a bell? Well that country gave up Hockey after that, but you proudly go around beating your chest at talks.