SEPANG: The RM3.9 million allocation sought for the five-year development of five-a-side hockey from this year can help the national team prepare a backup squad for the Hockey5s World Cup 2028.
National men’s five-a-side hockey team coach Wallace Tan said the allocation could also be used to further popularise the sport, which is still new in the country.
“Very good news, this game is still very new, the allocation is good, can attract more people to like the game. We need to popularise this game so that we have our own backup squad and supporters,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here today upon the team’s return from the Hockey5s World Cup 2024 in Oman.
Earlier, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, who was also present to welcome back the team, said the application for the allocation was submitted to the Ministry of Finance yesterday.
The men’s five-a-side team emerged runners-up in the inaugural Hockey5s World Cup on Wednesday (early Thursday morning Malaysian time) after losing 5-2 to European giants the Netherlands in the final at the Oman Hockey Stadium.
Commenting on a local media report quoting Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal saying that Wallace declined to be paid an allowance, Wallace said he did that because he was determined to help the national team excel without burdening the governing body.
“Since I heard about the announcement of the Hockey5s World Cup 2024, I was all pumped up to help team Malaysia, that’s all I wanted to do,” he said.
Subahan was also quoted as saying that the men’s and women’s hockey5s squads only received a small allowance due to the MHC facing financial constraints.
The men’s national team, however, did not let that affect them as they went on to finish second, with skipper Mohamad Akhimullah Anuar Esook even named the best player of the tournament after he exploded with 11 goals during the Hockey5s World Cup campaign.
Mohamad Akhimullah said the team were prepared to fight till the end despite receiving a small allowance.
“The allowance is not a problem for us because we have been drilled to play for the country. We put aside matters about allowances and funding. Our focus was on the challenges in front of us and we took it one game at a time,” he said. – Bernama