Malaysia met South Africa in the second match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. Despite the current spell of extreme humidity, Malaysia have home ground advantage and get to play at the 8.05pm slot.
It was a close match between the two teams as South Africa are ranked 12th whereas Malaysia at 13th in the World ranking. Both are qualified for the 2014 Men’s Hockey World Cup to be held in May in the Netherlands.
Fielding six rookies earning their first international cap, Malaysia’s lack of experience was evident, with the boys’ failure to convert almost ten penalty corners. Newly appointed national hockey coach K. Dharmaraj, who has set a top two finishing for Malaysia, was quite happy with the team’s performance, nonetheless, and believed that they will get better as the tournament progresses.
The Malaysian coach believed that they would be the underdogs in their next match against South Korea on Sunday. Nevertheless, with a two-day break, it would be an added advantage for Malaysia.
Meanwhile, new South African coach was disappointed to have conceded too many penalty corners, though defence was fantastic. Despite being disappointed with the results, he was looking forward to their next match, which will be against China. He was impressed with China’s game against Australia, played earlier that day.
Event: 23rd SAS Cup 2014: Day 1 – South Africa (2) – Malaysia (3)
Venue: Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh
Date: 13th March, 2014
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