The Malaysian Hockey Confederation has set a top five target for the national team in the Champions Challenge 1 Tournament to be held in Argentina next November.
It is truly a wonder that why all the President's men did not advise Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah that putting up such a target is indeed de-grading to the national team who are ranked 13 in the world going into the tournament.
Looking at the teams participating, South Korea is ranked 7th while hosts Argentina is 10th and South Africa is 12th in the latest FIH World rankings after the 2012 London Olympics.
Given that scenario, Malaysia should rightfully target a top four finish at the very least but realistically should target making the final of the Champions Challenge Tournament, and not be contend with a lower target then their current world ranking.
It is indeed baffling that such a lofty target has been set as it was Tengku Abdullah who said way back in 2009 that Malaysia will be in the top 12 by end of 2012.
Now lets take a look at that possibility. Argentina, who are 10th has a total of 1492 ranking points while 11th placed India has 1340 ranking points.
South Africa (12th) have a total of 1305, followed by Malaysia (13th) have 1188, and Canada (14th) 1104 while Ireland (15th) are with 1013.
Hence the difference in points between Malaysia and the other countries on either side of the current world rankings area s follows:
Argentina + 304
India + 152
South Africa + 117
Canada - 84
Ireland - 175
The Champions Challenge offers ranking points as follows:
Runner Up: 170
Even if we finish last, Canada and Ireland will not be able to overtake our 13th spot but what Malaysia should be actually targeting is to finish as high as possible to reduce the deficit against the likes of South Africa and India, thus making a top 12 ranking a possibility by the first quarter of 2013 when the second round of the World League takes place.
So obviously some people within MHC have not done their homework to present a true picture to the President before he went out to say a top 5 target at the press conference last Sunday.