Create Bukit Jalil atmosphere in London - Syed Saddiq

Last update: 03/10/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 -- Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman called on all Malaysians, especially those in the United Kingdom, to come down and give their full support to the national men's hockey squad in fulfilling their mission to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

He hoped that the support would create such an atmosphere at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil and inject support for the national team by making them feel like playing on their own turf.

"There are thousands of Malaysians out there...this is the time to show their support by going to the stadium," he told reporters after meeting with the national hockey squad at the National Hockey Stadium here today.

At the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Olympic qualifier draw ceremony on Sept 9, the Malaysian Tigers were drawn to face Great Britain in two play-off matches to be held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Center in London on Nov 2 and 3.

Syed Saddiq, meanwhile, described the FIH decision as unjust and only beneficial to the host squad.

"I am not happy with FIH's decision to hold both matches in the United Kingdom...and remember this is our final chance to go to the Olympics. They should at least give us the advantage to play at our home ground.

"But most importantly when facing this issue, all Malaysians in the UK and particularly in London should come together to provide strong support. If FIH wants to make it difficult for us to create a home ground feeling, then make sure we also get that feeling in there," he said.

Under the guidance of Danny Kerry, Great Britain's squad will comprise top ranked players from England (world ranked seventh), Wales (18) and Scotland (19), while the national squad under the guidance of Roelant Oltmans now ranks 11th in the world.

The last time Malaysia played in the world's biggest sporting event was at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.