The Merdeka Cup is an invitational inter-state championship organised by the Selangor Floorball Association since 2012. The annual tournament made its debut last year with state teams from Penang and Selangor. This year, the inclusion of Kuala Lumpur state team made it an even more interesting tri-state championship.
The men's team had to play 2 matches in a single day and with only 2 hour break in between. It was really tough as many of the senior players were carrying minor injuries to this tournament. The first match was against KL. The KL side basically consist of ex and current hockey players and it was going to be a very physical match. Leading the KL team were national capped Khalid and Hafidz. Penang started the match a little shaky from the defence as players were acclamatizing to the court size of 13x8 (official 19x9). Although Penang have much of the possession, the first goal only came after 10 minutes from Kuan Yang who was stepping in for the injured captain, Adrian Koay. Penang ended the match with a comfortable 9-1 victory which was crucial in building the momentum and confidence for the upcoming match.
Next up, a strong Selangor side. Selangor were made up of fast and technically gifted players. Plus the experience and composure of national captain, Sjaiful, Selangor are never going to be an easy team to beat. It was an end to end court action from both teams. By the 2nd period, some of our players were starting to have cramps and the lapse of concentration almost cause us the match. Thankfully, all the players stepped up and by the 3rd period, we have already killed off the game. The match ended 8-4 and Penang are crowned the 2nd Merdeka Cup Champions.
This year the men's team played with much more composure and efficiency. Players rising above occasion and were tactically very disciplined.The matches also witnessed freshies stepping up and rightly showing why they are being picked to represent the state. An evidence that we are on the right track of developing young players.
The women's team also featured a few new players which were standing in for the first time. Having Sharron, our first choice goalie out due to injury, it was a big blow to the team, but stand in goalie, Michaela showed that she was capable of stepping into her shoes and anchor the job with commendable effort.
The first game saw the Penang team competing against Kuala Lumpur, which like their men's side consist of hockey players who are physically very strong. With Sheeda leading the line, KL were always dangerous on the attack. Penang ladies shown plenty of heart throughout the game matching their bigger opponents throughout the full 60 minutes. Both teams were always on a close fight. The ladies were a little unlucky as they conceded the equalizer with less than a minute on the clock. The match ended with a 5-5 draw.
The Penang team faced Selangor the next day. With the team needing a +8 goal difference, Penang went all out on attack from the very first minute. Selangor fought until the end, never give up and manage to equalize at 6-6 before Penang went on to wrap up the game at 8-6.
The women's team show that they are not inferior to anybody and played with everything they got in both games. We believe with more match exposure, the women's team will be able to transcend to greater heights.
All in all, it was a championship for Penang teams. Both the Men's and Ladies team played admirably well and gain much exposure from the local floorball circuit. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all who were involved (organisers, coaches, players, personnel who went down all the way to help the team) for making this a successful and meaningful championship. May we continue to look forward to greater things and development in Penang as well as in Malaysia.