Hockey: Kudos for AHF but some rather do own chest thumping

When Malaysia last to Japan in the final of the Asian Games, the Asian Hockey Federation were hammered black and blue.

And no sooner had their wounds healed, the AHF were once again in the firing line by overzealous personalities from Malaysia which accused the patent body of not doing enough for Asian Countries.

Two days after the international Hockey Federation announced an increased quota for Asian team to the World Cup, not a single word of praise was showered in AHF.

Getting three automatic places for men and two for women , via the Asia Cup is no mean feat.

Just look at the rankings of the teams from Asia.

Only two teams – India and Malaysia are in the top 12 bracket.

Yet AHF managed to convince FIH to give three automatic places as I pounded to the single entry in the past.

And more good news is expected, for the next three teams in the Asia Cup who do not make the World Cup will then go to the qualifiers.

Before most in Hockey getting over elated at this news, let’s take a short tutorial on World Cup.

Malaysia played in the World Cups from 1973 to 1982 in Bombay

Then there was a 16 year hiatus, failure after failure to make the grade until the 1997 Qualifiers were held at the newly built Bukit Jalil Stadium.

Malaysia qualified for the 1998 Utrecht World Cup.

In 2002 Malaysia hosted the World Cup, the first with 16 teams and we finished a creditable 8th.

And it was heartbreak season again in 2006 Germany and 2010 as Malaysia failed.

The next World Cup qualification was 2014 and by the time in 2018, the field had expanded to 16 teams once again.

So really it’s no big deal making the World Cup with an expanded field.

Now the question is will Malaysia bid to host the 2021 Asia Cup?

That will be the correct thing to do and instead of playing the correct PR trump card by giving credit to AHF for their initiative in getting more places for Asia.

Instead of chest thumping, look at your preparation for the Asia Cup.

The culling of senior players could well prove a costly affair.

And no one is going to roll out a red carpet for Malaysia to take an automatic berth to the World Cup.

As for the women’s team, we are fifth ranked in Asia, so need not count the stars realistically.