Today marks exactly one month from the end of the 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Men’s International Hockey Tournament 2022 held at the Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh. It was indeed very challenging and a memorable tournament which garnered international audience.
We had the opportunity to interview both the President of Perak Hockey, Tuan Hj. Mohd Saiyuti Bin Abd Samat and Secretary, Mr. Amarjit Singh A/L Swaran Singh.
My Ipoh: Tell us a little on Perak Hockey.
Amarjit: Perak Hockey is one of the top hockey playing state in the Country. Perak Hockey has produced lots of National Players.
MyIpoh: Through your leadership how do you see Perak Hockey’s growth in the next year’s to come?
Hj. Saiyuti: We won the Razak Cup when we initially took control in 2020, even though we had some issues cropping up. Yet, it’s clear to me that Perak is brimming with Talent. From the very beginning, we’ve had complaints that our players aren’t committed to representing Perak. Then, in the second year, I noticed that we had sufficient number of players who were all committed to the cause, most notably in the most recent season when we were competing for the Razak Cup. They play as a team, and I think this group of players will try to maintain the same level of play for the next one or two years of the Razak Cup.
MyIpoh: What are your future plans for Perak Hockey?
Hj. Saiyuti: To bring back the Perak League, which has been dormant for two years.
Amarjit: The future plans is to see the growth of the younger age group tournaments and with the assistance of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) and the Yayasan Sultan Azlan Shah, we will try to achieve as much for the growth of the younger group.
MyIpoh: The younger group you mean is below 18 right?
Amarjit: Under 12, under 14, Under 16 and up to Under 20
MyIpoh: The bar has been set high with the success of the Malaysian Team on the victory in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022. How do you think our Malaysian Team will fare in the next Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2023, since most teams will come in harder after their defeat?
Amarjit: The Malaysian team has set a high benchmark for themselves, and I don’t believe they will be able to lower it. However, I am certain that as time goes on and in the following ten months they will increase their standards, and that they will be able to win the SASCUP for a second year in a row.
MyIpoh: What are your personal thoughts and feelings after our Malaysian Team had won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022?
Hj. Saiyuti: The experience is fantastic!, after our national team won the SASCUP, they will competing in the Nation Cup in South Africa. They have set a target for themselves to be ranked eighth in the world, and I have high expectations that they will be able to achieve this position. I believe that they will move up the rankings.
Amarjit: The feeling is great; 39 years of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup the 29th Edition they became the winner. This gives us, the organising committee a good feeling; perhaps it’s a combination of our hard work and the tenacity that the team displayed that led to their success in capturing the coveted trophy. Having put up a successful event gives you a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
MyIpoh: In a short period of time, how did you manage to organized and secure this International Tournament and what are the challenges faced?
Hj. Saiyuti: Given the tiny size of our team (10 individual), and the widespread belief that there was no way we could pull off such an undertaking in the time allotted, we saw this as a challenge that we had to accept in order to prove our doubters wrong. And if you want evidence that we were successful, all you have to do is look at the last two games played by the National Team. The turnout of supporters for the tournament was phenomenal, and our national team was receiving support from the fans, who were cheering them on. Alhamdulillah, the National squad won thanks to their stellar performance.
MyIpoh: What are your plans for the next SAS Cup 2023? When do you propose to have the tournament?
Hj. Saiyuti: Most probably in July next year before the Asian Game.
Amarjit: With all of this year’s accomplishments behind us, we are not resting on our laurels. Now that we have the basic framework in place, we’ll start getting ready right away so that when the tournament comes around again, we’re fully prepared. Taking advice from Chief national coach Arul, we’ve decided to have it in July, before the Asian Games, so that the team can get plenty of practise.
In addition to this, we will be required to obtain His Royal Highness’s approval on the dates, and once we have that, we will immediately spring into action.
MyIpoh: This has been a great interview. My Ipoh would like to congratulate Tuan Hj. Mohd Saiyuti and Mr. Amarjit Singh on a job well done. We’re looking forward for the next 30th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Men’s International Hockey Tournament 2023.