Wed07182018

LAST_UPDATETue, 17 Jul 2018 10pm

MHC Keen To Host Inaugural Hockey Series, 2022 World Cup

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian hockey enthusiasts can expect to witness few world class actions as the Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) is eyeing to host several world level tournaments in the next four years.

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said Malaysia had been offered by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to host the inaugural men’s Hockey Series Finals in June next year, which serves as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers.

It’s likely to be followed by the 2022 World Cup as MHC looks forward to host if not both, either men’s or women’s edition of the tournament, after about 20 years since it last hosted the men’s edition in 2002.

“We were offered by FIH to host the brand new Hockey Series Finals as they believe we have the infrastructure and capabilities to host. FIH sees Malaysia as a great venue to host world class events.

“We are also serious about hosting both the men and women’s editions of the 2022 World Cup because our boys and girls show tremendous improvement and are able to compete with any worldclass team. However, any final decision before approaching FIH will only be made during the Executive Board meeting on June 3,” he told a press conference at the National Hockey Stadium here today.

Subahan said hosting the Hockey Series would definitely give great advantage to the men’s squad’s dream of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics should Stephen Van Huizen’s charges fail to book their berth as continental champions by winning the Indonesia Asia Games gold medal, come August.

For the record, Malaysia hosted the men’s World Cup in 1975 and 2002, whereby the men’s squad achieved the best ever result in garnering fourth place in 1975, while the women’s edition was hosted in 1983.

Subahan also hoped the new Pakatan Harapan-ruled Government, via the new minister in charge of the sports portfolio, would continue its support towards the confederation’s development programmes.

Meanwhile, MHC technical director Terry Walsh said according to the new format introduced by FIH, which replaced the previous Hockey World League (HWL) cycle, a number of teams would compete in the six (six each for men’s and women’s) events in the Hockey Series Open tournaments, where a minimum of 15 teams would advance to the next round, namely the Hockey Series Finals.

In the Series Finals, the 15 teams will be joined by nine highest ranked teams which are not playing in the Hockey Pro League (HPL).

A total of three Series Finals events (eight teams each) will be held, with six teams progressing to the final round, namely, the Olympic Qualification matches.

In the final round which allocates six qualifying slots, the six teams would be joined by the top four teams in the HPL and two teams based on world rankings. The 12 teams would play a two-round playoff match to decide six qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020.

Another six teams which will compete in Tokyo are five continental champions and host Japan. The same format will be used for the 2022 World Cup.

-- BERNAMA