SINGAPORE – Malaysia’s hockey squad or the ‘Speedy Tigers,’ made the nation proud when they emerged as champions of the World Hockey League Second Round here.
Malaysia, who trounced Poland 8-0 in the final at Sengkang Hockey Stadium on Sunday, also cemented its 12th ranking in world hockey.
The proteges of national coach Tai Beng Hai delivered on their promise to emerge as the champions or at least the two best teams in the tournament.
With the achievement, Malaysia qualified for the WHL semi-final scheduled to be held in Argentina or Belgium, together with Poland and the third place Japan.
The tournament saw striker Faizal Saari who made his 165th appearance since 2009 receiving the best player award and the top scorer with 12 goals.
Faizal’s 12 goals were against Ukraine (1), Oman (2), Mexico (1), Singapore (6) and Poland (2).
The tournament from Jan 16-25 was particiated by eight teams, namely Malaysia, Japan, Oman, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Mexico, Poland and Singapore.
Faizal said he did not expect to win the best player award as it was the first in his international hockey career.
“I am proud of this success and have to thank the team for their strong commitment,” he told reporters, here today.
He wants the team to prove their worth in the WHL semi-final as preparation to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Malaysia’s incoming team consultant Neil Hawgood said Faizal is one of the talented players aorund and needs to be polish for future success.
“He needs time. In a few years, he will be better than this. I am impressed with Malaysia’s achievement. They dominated from the first minute.
“I did not think that Malaysia could beat Poland 8-0 but was sure that they would dominate the game,” said Hawgood who will start his job in Feb. – BERNAMA