N.Sri Shanmuganathan: The preparation of the 1972 Munich Hockey team was unique as it was the unhidden hands of Zain Azahari, the President of the Selangor Hockey Association. After winning the Tun Razak inter-state tournament from 1968 to 1971, the Selangor team was rewarded with a hockey tour of Western Australia. Western Australia was the kingpins of Australian hockey at that time. We played several matches against their club and state teams. We won all our matches.
After the tour the players were booming with confidence until the Malaysian selectors destroyed the dream by dropping Robin Goh and Yang Siow Meng. By this decision the right side of the attack was amputated. Zain Azahari was appointed the Assistant manager of the Munich Hockey team. Knowing things were getting out of hand, Zain Azahari and some of the players met our team manager Raja Azlan Shah and convinced him to at least include Yang Siow Meng as the 19th player to the team. This was a very unusual decision taken by the management.
Fortunately for us one of the players, Randir Singh was injured, so the team management had no difficulty naming the 18-man squad. During the matches played in Munich, Yang Siow Meng did more than his normal share by not only contributing in the field of play, but also providing tactical pointers during the team discussion on the eve of matches.
The team was so lop-sided that although we registered 18 players we only used 13 to 14 players for the duration of the tournament. If we had able substitutes our performance could have moved to another level.
My personal view is that the national team should be selected on merit alone, and nothing else. Not to mention, that selectors should be colour blind in picking the best available material, and put aside their own personal agendas. We must ensure that the best Malaysian team is competing in the tournament.


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