Although the Sultan Azlan Shah 2020 Cup Championship scheduled for April 11 to 18, 2020 in Ipoh, Perak, has been postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (KHM) has a backup plan for the Malaysian Tigers.
Yesterday, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Committee Organizing Committee Chairman Datuk Abd Rahim Md Arif released a media statement on the rescheduling of the annual tournament in the interest of players, officials and all parties involved to prevent the spread of infections in South Korea and Japan.
KHM president Dato Sri ‘Subahan Kamal today confirmed the suspension of the tournament besides confirming that the KHM had arranged another plan for the national squad in preparation for the Asian Champions Trophy Championship in November.
He also emphasized that although the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament was postponed, the country’s players still had training sessions as planned for them.
“The KHM has received a letter from Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Championship manager and I have been informed that the tournament manager has decided to postpone the tournament due to several reasons.
“One of them is due to the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, with South Korea and Japan among the countries affected by the outbreak, along with advice also given to take into consideration the health of players from other teams such as Australia, Canada and Japan who will play in the 2020 Olympics.
“So to prevent any possible spread of the disease and so on, the tournament was postponed and the organizers propose for the match to be held from September 24 to October 3, 2020.
“From the observation of the KHM the date is appropriate because in November, the National Men’s squad will take part in the Asian Champions Trophy Championship and if that date is approved then the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Championship could be a preparation field for the national team.
“But it is still too early for us to make any decisions as we need to see how the disease spreads.
“Although the tournament is delayed, the training sessions are running as usual and we have plans to invite several countries to Malaysia for a test match.
“We have also received requests from Canadians who wish to continue their journey to Malaysia and undergo a series of test matches with the national team in preparation for the Olympics.
“We will try to fulfill the Canadian team’s expectations and we also plan to hold a Three-Corner Tournament in Kuantan, Pahang with the New Zealand and Pakistan teams expected to take place in June.
“In the meantime, my concern over the outbreak of the outbreak also led to the country’s Women’s Youth Team going to Japan’s Japan for the Asian Women’s Youth Cup Championship in April, which is also a qualifying match for the Youth World Cup.
“We are currently awaiting information from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on whether or not the match will be postponed,” he said.