One of the biggest hockey competitions, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has always been raucous affair, giving the fans something to cheer about every year. With defending champions Australia, opting to play in the FIH Pro League along with the European countries, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will see a different set of teams this year.
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 is set to begin from the 23rd March and will be concluded by the 30th of March. The tournament will be held in Ipoh, Malaysia.
The 2019 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be the 28th edition of the annual hockey event. The tournament was inaugurated in 1983 as a biennial competition. However, following it’s massive success and popularity, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was held annually from 1998. The tournament is named after the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Honorary title for the King of Malaysia), Sultan Azlan Shah, who was an avid fan of the sport. He was known as the “Father of Malaysian Hockey” for furthering field hockey at both home and abroad.
Australia have been the most successful team in the history of the tournament, with 10 titles to their name.
Since its inception, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup has been held on several locations such as Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. However, in recent years, the tournament has been held in the city of Ipoh in Perak, Malaysia.
The Sultan Azlan Shah stadium acts as the permanent venue for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. It was built in the year 1984 and has a capacity to hold about 10,000 spectators.
Due to the Men’s FIH Pro League, the likes of Argentina, Australia and England will not be taking part in the competition, all of whom who had competed in the previous edition. They will be replaced by Canada, Japan and South Korea.
A total of six teams will be taking part in the international competition. The teams are provided below:-
Teams to watch out for
Australia are the defending champions of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, but will not be taking part in the competition. Instead, India will be playing the tournament as the highest-ranked competitor and are huge favourites to win the title. However, they will need to be wary of dark horses Japan, who are also the Asian Games Gold medallists. While Canada is the closest to India, based on the FIH World Rankings, with the former ranked on tenth and the latter as fifth.