So we beat Finland in our 1st pool match and as we came for our match against the USA, we found out that the Pakistani team had lost their pool tie against the South Africans. It meant that if we beat USA, we will play Pakistan while a lost to USA cannot be accepted just to play South Africa. A quick meeting with team and it was decided that if we are good enough, we will beat Pakistan. So it was set. How Pakistan lost their match is not known as there were many theories.
So we ended up losing to Pakistan 2-1 with Azlan getting our only point. Beng Hee was outplayed by Farhan who played like his life depended on it and honestly, Wan was very unlucky not to have won. (refs not helping with crazy & inconsistent decisions) Our best on the day was not good enough. The players gave their best efforts but form was not phenomenal although it was good.
And good enough for us to finish the rest of our matches 3-0 to eventually end up 9th. So was it a failure? Finishing 9th was but I'd rather lose this to Pakistan now instead of the Asian Games next year in China. The silver lining is that our 3rd and 4th players are now very much stronger compared to previous outings and can be depended to get us through on a good day instead of rolling over. I can see Wan and Ivan continuing their improvements if they can keep their desire to move up the rankings burning hot as it is now.
The loss is also a sign to SRAM not to depend too much on just the cream of the crop but support the rest to build an environment conducive to develop more talents and players. Keeping players playing to an age of 27-30 in the country is the key. The more players at this level, the more benefits the juniors and future players will reap from it.
Till next time, cheers.