Monday, November 16, 2009


It was his seventh international award for best goalkeeping. But S. Kumar would trade all of them for a place in the World Cup in New Delhi next year.

Kumar failed to stop New Zealand from scoring twice in the final, and that put paid to the hopes of the Malaysian team to qualify on merit for the World Cup for only the second time since 1982.

Malaysia hosted the World Cup in 2002 and qualified to play in the 1998 edition. Hence this failure means that Malaysia has to wait until the 2014 World Cup, and Kumar who is 31 will probably not last that long.

That is why he was hugely disappointed with the failure at Invercargill, especially since he has failed in four qualifiers in a row.

Kumar was in the team for the 2004 Olympic Qualifiers in Madrid, the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers in China and the 2008 Olympic Qualifiers in Japan, and he was hoping that it would be third time lucky, but the Black Sticks dealt him a blow.

“It was really disappointing especially since we were only 13 minutes away from a place in the World Cup,” said the Tampin born custodian.

“We wasted this opportunity as this was probably our best chance to make it to the World Cup. It will only get tougher after this.”

Kumar however has no intention of retiring from playing hockey as he harbors hopes of playing at the 2012 London Olympics.

And in order to do that Malaysia has to either win gold at the 2010 Asian Games or take the tougher route through the qualifiers.

“My aim is to play in the Olympics as I missed two Olympics so far due to our failure to make it through the qualifiers,” said Kumar.

“So we need to start preparing now for the Asian Games as it will be tough with the likes of Pakistan, India and South Korea.