|Men's World Cup Qualifier set to begin|
|The 9th Men's World Cup Qua- lifier, scheduled for 4-15 March in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the last step on the road to the 1998 men's World Cup taking place 21 May - 1 June in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The top six teams from Malaysia will go on to join the teams already quali- fied for the World Cup: Australia, England, Germany, India, Netherlands, Pakistan.||??||
As with any major tournament, there is still some work to be done before the first push back. But advance reports from Kuala Lumpur indicate that the 9th Men's World Cup Qualifier will be held in fine style at the new Bukit Jalil National Sports Com- plex, described by one observer as `maybe the most beautiful hockey stadium in the world.'
The new complex, which is still under construction, has been ordered by the Malaysian Mi- nistry of Sports to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games. More than 95% of the construction on the main hockey stadium, with a capacity of 12,000 covered seating, was complete at the time of an inspection visit in January by FIH Technical Manager, Adrien Peters. A second, smaller hockey venue, adjacent to the main stadium, can accommodate 2,000. Both will be used during the upcoming Qualifier, although the majority of the matches will take place in the main stadium. The playing surfaces at both sta- diums are AstroTurf System 90.
There will be plenty of FIH activity surrounding the Qualifier with a number of meetings planned. Both the Development & Coaching Committee and the Competitions Committee will meet during the tournament, as will the Rules Advisory Panel and the Hockey Rules Board.
The FIH Executive Board will convene its first meeting of 1997, and FIH President Juan Angel Calzado will preside over his first meeting of the Presidents Forum, a consultative gathering with the Presidents of the five Continental Federations. The FIH Hon. Se- cretary General, Hon. Treasurer and Executive Director will also be in attendance at the Presidents Forum, along with two other FIH vice-presidents. And finally, Mrs. van Breda Vriesman will hold a meeting with the Hon. Secretary Generals of the five Continental Federations.
There will be even more action both in and out of the meeting rooms with the staging of an FIH Coaching Course from 1-6 March. The course will be con- ducted by an FIH Master Coach and FIH Coach Grade 1, Tayyab Ikram from Macau, acting as course co-ordinator. Participants have been nominated from a wide variety of countries including Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka, to name a few.
The tournament match schedule, which was originally released in December 1996, has been revised and was communicated again in late January. The new schedule places all but a handful of matches in the main stadium. At the same time, the list of tourna- ment officials was released.
As with the recent men's Cham- pions Trophy, ESPN Asia will again be broadcasting live to an audience of 16 million viewers, and interest has also been shown by television stations in Belgium, Ireland and Spain. This is all in addition to national coverage within Malaysia, which is expected to be extensive and to be provided by TV-3.
Results can be found in the sites "results" section