S.Balasingam: We went to the 1972 Munich Olympic Games with too many forwards. Why the Malaysian Hockey Federation selectors made such a poor selection baffled the senior players. We were certainly not happy as the selectors left out several essential players who had the merit over some of those selected. Until today the selection baffles me.
Just three weeks before our departure to Munich, some of the seniors made personal appeals to Raja Azlan Shah, the team manager. We wanted other players who were not selected included to bolster the forward line. Raja Azlan was sympathetic to our reasoning. However, as the squad was already made up of 18 players, he told us he could only take one extra player along.
He asked us for our choice. We were unanimous in wanting Yang Siow Meng. Raja Azlan accepted our choice and Yang was back in the squad, although we could have also used the services of right winger Robin Goh.
Yang, who was dropped from the initial squad, became an influential player in all our matches in Munich. On hindsight, thanks to Raja Azlan, he turned out to be more than a player. Raja Azlan made him the team strategist. All the team planning and meetings were handled by Yang and he did a great job of it.
Despite being so short in midfield and attack, it was a wonder that we finished in eighth spot which was our best placing to date in the Olympic series. If we had made a better selection, I dare say we could have been in the top four in 1972.