Friday, November 13, 2009


The fate of the Malaysian team at World Cup Qualifiers will be answered as most of the Malaysians back home will be helping themselves to hot nasi lemak or “banjir” roti canai with a glass of the tarik.

Malaysia crosses sticks against China in a crucial match at Invercargill at 2.00pm local time, which is five hours ahead of Malaysia (so it will be 9.00am in Malaysia).

All China needs to do is draw the match and it will ensure them a place in Sunday’s final against hosts New Zealand. Malaysia has to win to deny China the final slot.

Failure by the Malaysians will lead to all kinds of speculations back home with the buck being pushed from one person to another. And typical to MHF standards, no one person will stand up and take responsibility.

But to talk about it is early days as Malaysia has a chance to make the final at the very least. Lets not even talk about defeating New Zealand and progressing to the World Cup yet. Personally I hope Malaysia makes the final, defeats the Black Sticks in front of their home fans and book the berth to New Delhi.

However lets talk about China first for overcoming the team that we have lost to in our last two meetings is vital to keep the glimmer of hope flickering in our quest to make the World Cup on merit, for only the third time in 27 years.

China is without five players who played the Asia Cup in Kuantan six months ago. They struggled to get past Scotland, Austria and Wales, winning all three matches with identical 2-1 score lines. And the Kiwis beat them 6-1.

But somehow I have doubts that China played to form in the match against New Zealand. They held back and were obviously giving the Malaysians a false sense of hope.

Malaysia too have been struggling in the tournament, playing well only in the opening 35 minutes and crumbling in the second 35. The defenders play as if they are in a China shop, afraid to use their physique to make tackles and making elementary mistakes in the semi circle to give away penalty corners.

And the forwards are guilty of losing possession easily thus allowing the opponents liberty to attack with ease.

But if there is anything in common as so far as China and Malaysia are concerned, it is their displeasure on the standard of umpiring in the tournament.

The two Asian teams have been victims of biased umpiring, especially when facing the Black Sticks. And the irony is that it is not Caucasian umpires that are responsible for this, as it is the Asians or Asian background umpires that are guilty of appeasing some quarters.

More of that and the organization in my review.

Let us pray that we get past China first and get a chance to play the Kiwis again.