KUALA LUMPUR: The national women’s team did what their male counterparts could not when they qualified for the third-place playoff after edging New Zealand 5-4 in the Tuanku Zara Cup Women’s International Indoor Hockey Championship today.
The victory allowed coach Mohd Badrul Hisham Osman’s team to end the round-robin competition at the Indera Mulia Hockey Stadium in Ipoh, Perak, in fourth place and they will face Australia in the third-place playoff tomorrow.
In today’s match against New Zealand, Malaysia got their goals through Nor Asfarina Isahyifiqa Isahhidun (fourth minute), Nur Hafizah Maznan (16th), Iren Hussin (21st, 31st) and Fazilla Sylvester Silin (36th) while New Zealand replied through Hannah Cardno (7th), Tegan Buchanan (10th) and Jessica Kelly (13th, 30th).
There was no such luck, however, for the national men’s team as their hopes of making the cut for the third-place playoff in the Sultan Nazrin Shah Cup were dashed after they were trounced 7-1 by South Africa
In their final round-robin match today, they were completely outclassed by world number seven South Africa and could only score a single goal through Muhammad Firdaus Omar (37th minute, field goal).
Steven Paulo was the hero for South Africa when he bagged a hat-trick in the third, eighth and 40th minutes while Luke Lange (10th), Justin Domleo (23rd), Lungani Gabela (24th) and Kyle Esau (32nd) chipped in with one apiece.
The result means the national team, who are ranked 15th in the world and led by coach Mohd Hanip Che Halim, could only end up fifth out of six teams in the competition.–Bernama