The Zone D Qualifier, which will held at the Royal Pahang Polo Club in Pekan and the Royal Selangor Polo Club here from June 14-25, will also double up as the Asian – Australasian – African Championships.
The top finishers in the Qualifier will qualify to play in this year’s FIP Polo World Cup Finals which will be played in San Luis, Argentina from Oct 11-15.
Seven teams – Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria and Malaysia will battle for the three tickets available for the World Cup Finals.
Team manager Ahmad Jamili Rashid also revealed that the team is in “great shape” after finishing a creditable joint third with Royal Pahang after a 6-6 stalemate in the playoff in the inaugural Terengganu Open Polo Championships at the Terengganu Equestrian Park in Kuala Ibai last Saturday. Thai Polo won the title with a 11-5 win over Head Hunters in the final.
Jamili said the national team, playing under the 1Malaysia banner, had a fruitful outing in the Terengganu Open which enabled the coaches to work on the team’s shortcomings.
“We have found the right combination,” said Jamili. “The Terengganu Open allowed the coaches to work on the flaws. It was also the perfect venue for the players to know their strength and weaknesses.”
Jamili, however, is not willing to reveal on who will be the reserves in the six-man team. The Malaysian team is made up of captain Shaik Reismann (Handicap 3), Huzaini Yunos (Handicap 4), Amran Selamat (Handicap 2), Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin (Handicap 4), Saladin Mazlan (Handicap 3) and Tengku Ahmad Shazril (Handicap 3).
“Right now the players have been trying out different horses. It is best they try out as many horses as possible now before the selection of horses for the World Cup is done through a draw. You will never know what type of horse you get,” added Jamili.
Malaysia has never qualified for the FIP World Cup Finals. Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, however, believes that Malaysia, as hosts, are capable of a top three finish and book a historic place in the Finals.
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