PRESS RELEASE ON FIH WORLD LEAGUE
BY HRH TENGKU ABDULLAH SULTAN AHMAD SHAH
PRESIDENT, MALAYSIAN HOCKEY CONFEDERATION
Malaysia has been awarded the hosting rights for the Semi Final stage of the World League that offers six spots for the 2014 World Cup to be held in Holland.
In revealing this, Malaysian Hockey Confederation President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad said that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed Malaysia as the host for the tournament that will be held in Johor Baru from June 1-9.
"It is indeed an honor to play host to this prestigious event that will not only feature top ranked teams but also provide Malaysia an opportunity to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Holland,” said Tengku Abdullah.
"I must record my appreciation to the Johor State Government for graciously having consented to hold the event in Johor Baru.
"There is no doubt that hockey has a tremendous fan base in Johor and I am sure that the Malaysian team will benefit from the support they will receive in their quest to make the World Cup on merit for the first time since 1998."
The last time Malaysia played in the World Cup was in 2002 when it was held in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia played in the 1998 World Cup in Holland after a hiatus of 16 years as prior to that India 1982 was the last appearance for Malaysia.
There will be two Round 3 tournaments with eight teams each. These tournaments will feature two pools of four teams and will have placement games following the Round Robin. The second semi final is to be held in Holland.
In the semis, the top eight teams from the FIH rankings will join the qualifiers from the four second round tournaments that are to be held in India, Brazil, France and Russia.
Tengku Abdullah said the opportunity to host the Semi Finals arose when Germany who was the original hosts withdrew and FIH approached Malaysia.
"A lot of thought was put into the idea of playing host and after looking at the benefits that will avail to our national team, we put in a bid, but only after getting the official nod from Johor," said Tengku Abdullah.
"With this development Malaysia is exempt from playing in Round Two in Russia in May and this provides us with a perfect opportunity to try qualify for the World Cup."
National coach Paul Revington was naturally happy with the turn of events and had this to say:
"Malaysian hockey has a very proud history of successfully hosting FIH World Level events and it is no surprise that the FIH has turned to the MHC to host the World League 3 Semi Final stage.
"The timing of this World Level event also fits perfectly with the long-term MHC development drive to promote the 1Mas, Project 2013 and 2017 teams as these youngsters need to see more elite teams and players perform on Malaysian soil.
"This is obviously very exciting news and an added bonus for our Senior Team too who will relish the challenge and will aim to make full use of this opportunity.”
For National Team Manager George Koshy, hosting the Semi Final stage meant that Malaysia would have two bites of the cherry, as Malaysia will also host the Asia Cup that offers a single spot for the World Cup.
"Malaysia having won the bid provides us with an opportunity to make the cut for the World Cup not once but twice on home soil! The strong home support will the impetus to accomplish this fete, " said George.