A poor sixth placing in the seven-nation Asian-Australasian-African Championships, which ended on Saturday, has left Malaysia undecided if they want to bid to host the 2014 FIP Polo World Cup Finals.
Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said Malaysia’s poor showing is one of the factors that will be considered before making the bid for the Finals.
Malaysia have never qualified for the World Cup and the Asian-Australasian-African meet, which also served as the Zone D Qualifier for this year’s Finals in San Luis, Argentina from Oct 11-25, was Malaysia’s best hope. The World Cup hosts automatically qualify for the Finals.
“There are several other factors that need to be considered before we decide if want to bid. I have been told that several other countries like India, Pakistan and Canada are also bidding for the 2014 Finals,” said Tengku Abdullah, who is also the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang.
In the same breath, Tengku Abdullah said Malaysia’s poor show in the Z D Qualifier is another factor that has to be given serious consideration for the bid.
“We need to have a strong team to challenge the best. The Zone D qualifier drew a strong field. It was a good test for us. The standard of polo seen here was very high as we had some world class teams.
“We need to raise our polo to a higher level. Some changes are needed to take the game to new heights. It was a good learning experience for the team. They showed tremendous fighting spirit but that alone cannot win matches.
“The preparations have got to start now if we are going to bid. Malaysia needs to have strong team for the Finals. We will decide on what to do with the present team after doing a post-mortem. Hopefully, this Asian-Australasian-African championship will create a new pool of polo talent.”
Edham Shaharuddin, 36, has already voiced his intentions to quit the national team. This was his last international tournament for Malaysia.
Federation of International Polo (FIP) President Eduardo Huergo gave Malaysia full marks for their excellent organisation, hospitality and facilities which he described as “top class” that are good enough to host the World Cup Finals.
"I am happy with what I saw. Malaysia may not have done on the field but they certainly did an excellent job in hosting a world class polo tournament. None of the teams had any complaints and this is a plus point.”
Umpires J.J.Diaz Alberai, Nicolas Scortichini and Gonzalo Bunge, all from Argentina, were also given top marks for their excellent job as match officials.
For the record, India became the first holders of the new Malaysia Cup trophy and in the process created polo history on Malaysian soil. It was India’s first ever international polo title outside their motherland. In the final, India beat Indian sub-continent rivals Pakistan 12-9.
India and Pakistan, as champions and runners-up will be joined by Australia, who finished third after beating South Africa 12-9 in the playoff, will play in the World Cup Finals.