IPOH (BERNAMA) – Malaysian men’s hockey team coach A Arul Selvaraj has described their success in lifting the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time today as a “meaningful gift” to all hockey fans in the country who have always supported the Speedy Tigers.
Malaysia downed South Korea 3-2 in the final at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium to end their 39-year wait to clinch the coveted Cup.
Arul Selvaraj said the players, coaches and management team too have all been waiting a long time to taste victory in the tournament.
“I wish to praise my players and everyone who has worked so hard all these while because we have been chasing this trophy for the past 39 years. The players played with so much determination and dedication.
“That’s why before we began the third quarter, I told them to go all out and not to capitulate in front of thousands of our loyal supporters present tonight, and, they did just that,” he said after the final.
Malaysia began the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 round-robin campaign on a dismal note when they lost 3-0 to South Korea and drew 1-1 with Pakistan.
The Speedy Tigers, however, bounced back to notch three back-to-back wins in style – taming Egypt 4-1, trouncing South Africa 7-2 and beating Japan 4-2 – to book a place in the title showdown against South Korea.
The win enabled the Speedy Tigers to end a 39-year wait for the title, which they last missed out on when they lost 8-3 to Australia in the final of the 2014 edition.
The victory for Arul Selvaraj’s men also saw them avenge the 2-1 defeat by South Korea that wrecked Malaysia’s hopes of winning the Asia Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia in May.
Malaysia’s best achievement previously in the tournament, which began in 1983, was finishing as runners-up five times – in 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.