The Zone D playoffs for the upcoming XI Fip World Polo Championship, took place at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club, in the city of Pattaya. Malaysia and New Zealand battled it out in a single match for a spot in the Tournament that will be held next October in Sydney, Australia.
After some practices during the week to get used to the horses, each team was provided with a batch of 25 equines divided in 3 categories: A, B and C. The person in charge of this process of selection was Gines Bargalló.
Malaysia, who was specially prepared for this event after taking part in several contests in the country such as the Thai Polo Open, was very confident and with a good knowledge of the field. New Zealand, the rivals, arrived in Thailand on Monday night, they were already the favorites and had a historic player in their lineup: Cody Forsyth.
Malaysia started the game strongly and with an advantage of 1.5 due to handicap, but New Zealand quickly showed its full potential commanded by Henry Jones, and by the end of the first chukka they were leading the scoreboard by an 3 to 1.5.
The next two chukkas saw Saladin Mazlan find his inspiration: together with his playmates, was able to recover in favor of his team, that reached halftime with only half a goal behind the men in black and continued to keep up their performance until the last period when Cody Forsyth scored and took back the lead.
In spite of the excellent final performance of Malaysia, they couldn’t beat the powerful New Zealanders who claimed the win by 8 to 5.5 and earned a spot in the upcoming World Championship.
New Zaeland: Henry Wood 2, Henry Jones 3, Cody Forsyth 4, Glenn Sheriff 5. Total: 14.
Malaysia: Shaik Raismann 3, Amran Selamat 3, HH Prince Ahmad Shazril 3, Saladin Mazlan 3. Total: 12.
BPP: Dogo (played by Hnery Jones / property of Mohamed Moiz)
MVP: Cody Forsyth.
The FIP authorities headed with its president Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers attended the event, as well as the organizers Peter Abisheganaden and Mohamed Moiz. Now New Zealand is one of the four qualified teams together with Argentina, Australia and Chile.