Wow, so two exciting weeks of the Olympic qualifiers are finally over.
While the Qualifiers were thrilling, it was sad to see only two Asian teams making the cut for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Japan are Continental Champions and the host of the coming Olympics, so they didn’t go through the drama of the two back to back Olympic qualification matches.
While, I deeply appreciate FIH for all the hard work they do for developing hockey around the world, I still believe that the Olympic Qualifiers, where stakes are always high, isn’t a stage of an experiment.
Whatever happened with lower-ranked teams at the FIH Pro League and the unbalanced point base system was unfair.
That happened again at the Olympic Qualifiers, where top teams played two home games which proved
massive advantage for them. 75% of the Olympic Qualifier games were predictable.
At this moment, the hockey world is divided into two parts, and this is not beneficial for global hockey development.
It is very important to create a right balance through a tournament format where the lower rank teams spend more funds wisely, play minimum 5 to 6 games against different ranked teams.
This will allow lower rank teams to learn and progress. Coaches, team and the players need that exposure to evaluate themselves to get better and back in the top race.
Playing home and away is a good idea to project hockey and bring more money and people to the sport of hockey, but at the same time the hockey world is losing a balance as well.
It was sad to see Egypt pulling out from the qualifier because they knew the result. They prefered to save their funds rather than giving an exposure of the two games to their players.
Africa is the one of the continent who struggle a lot. I got a chance to work with the Egyptian national side and I have seen their raw talent. The most important part is that they love hockey a lot.
Same goes for South Africa, the most distressing thing is their elite players are struggling.
It’s really sad their women’s hockey team are likely to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020. I feel bad for the players.
Coming to India, if you look at their budget, it’s insane. Still, they are on the right track at the moment, especially their coaching development programme aims to bring hockey in India on the top without any foreigners.
In Asia, Japan is an upcoming hockey nation. After the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan will attract their youth to play hockey and ofcourse they will receive additional funds, which will help them in the development. That’s why participting in mega events is very important for the development.
Honestly, I’m just disappointed with the Malaysian men’s team. Their last six months of hard work was insane. They did everything, but unfortunately, their results didn’t show their preparation.
Yes, we can give a disadvantage of weather, and the away game environment. Still, the forcing errors they made, was really high which took them in a pressure zone.
They also failed to control their emotions. Their individual initiative was the proof of frustration and GB punished them on every little mistake they made.
GB were clearly a better team and showed solid mental fitness in each situation especially when they were facing an aggressive Malaysian high press.
So, what’s the problem with Asia?
Most of the Asian teams are very skilled and fit. But, their tactical awareness is low, and they have to sit and try to find a way, otherwise it will be very difficult for Asians to become World champions just on basis of their skill.
The game of hockey is going to be more advanced in the coming years, so it’s better they start working now before its too late.
For this, FIH also need to show some interest in that area and help them. They should also give a fairground to all the lower-ranked team and give them a chance in the top tier events, to make them better.
My coffee is done, and I am off to my next training session. In my next break, I’ll write my views and suggestions on Pakistan Hockey.
You might not agree with what I have written but I am always happy to hear your views and suggestions. 🙂