The hockey-mad pockets of the otherwise badminton-crazy country are all ready and decked up, for what has been described as one of the most ‘prestigious hockey tournaments in the world.’
Malaysia, a country with substantial support for Hockey, will see 6 teams compete over the next 7 days for a place in the final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, starting March 23rd.
The Sultan Azlan Shah tournament, which has been held since 1983, and annually since 2003, is named after the ninth King of Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shah, a keen follower of hockey.
The Dragflick profiles all 6 teams that are taking part in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament that runs from March 23 to March 30 in Ipoh, Malaysia. Take a look!
Malaysia : World Rank 13
Host Malaysia (WR: 13) will fancy their chances of making a big impression on home soil, specially with former India and Pakistan coach Roelant Oltmans leading the team.
Malaysian although come to the tournament without their four key players, still can emerge as the surprise element of this Tournament.
This will be their 28th appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- The mood of the fan is… cautiously optimistic
- The greatest thing about this team is…the fans. If you go to the stadium, there are always a huge number of enthusiastic and friendly supporters.
- We are very excited to watch…Razie Rahim and his dragflicking skills.
India : Work Rank 5
While, it may feel that India is one of the most interesting teams on paper, going by history, you tend to ask yourself, why they haven’t gone further?
India has been a turbulent hockey nation lately, with internal battles in the hockey selection committee. Also the never ending coach sacking issues.
They are coming to the tournament without a permanent Head Coach, so it will be interesting to see how they perform.
This will be their 22nd appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- The mood of the fan is… a clash of overblown optimism and deep pessimism.
- The greatest thing about this team is… pretty young, most are junior world cup champions.
- We are very excited to watch…Mandeep Singh and his strikes…he is a man to watch.
Japan : World Rank 18
Japan (WR: 16) Two years ago, one wouldn’t have paid much attention to Japan at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. But they come to Malaysia with the reputation of being one of the fastest-improving side in the world.
The stunning performance by the Japan Men’s team at the Asian Games last year, which made global headlines, would act as an inspiration to the men’s team.
Out of all the teams in this competition, Japan looks like a complete team. They have more tools in their box than its neighbours.
This will be their 4th-ever appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- The mood of the fan is….. one of excitement. There is a real buzz among not only Japanese fans, but a lot of other Asian team fans.
- The greatest thing about this team is… the coach, the players… they are fearless.
- If Japan play to their potential, they will… win the tournament.
South Korea : World Rank 17
Α team on the rise as they make their 20th appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
It is difficult to break this South Korean team down, as they have good physicality and size on them, combined with their technical brilliance.
- The mood of the fan is… euphoric and anxious. Great things are expected.
- South Korea has … A good chance
- The greatest thing about this team is..their technical brilliance.
Canada : World Rank 10
Coach Paul Bundy has a good mixture of experience and talented players to use. Although they had an average World Cup, this is a team that has a high chance of medalling here.
Canada will play five different oppositions and if they get out of their safe-play style, they can be on their way to glory.
This will be their 9th-ever appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- The mood of the fan is ….. in suspense
- The greatest thing about this team is... their worth ethic and grit.
- We are very excited to watch… David Carter, his reflexes and 3D skills are remarkable.
Poland : World Rank : 21
Although the lowest ranked team. A gut feeling says that the Polish can become an unpleasant surprise for India and Malaysia.
The polish are more known for their outstanding indoor hockey performances than outdoor and are coming to the tournament with a young team that has showed flashes of it’s potential.
This will be their 1st-ever appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
- The mood of the fan is ….. one of anticipation. The participation means a lot to them.
- The team is… very excited about taking part in the tournament for the first time.
- We are very excited to watch… all of them.