Floorball: Singapore qualify for World C'ships after 6-3 win over South Korea

World No. 16 Singapore had begun the qualifiers held at the OCBC Arena with two wins. PHOTO: SINGAPORE FLOORBALL SERIES

A meeting and pep talk to fortify belief helped the Singapore men’s floorball team qualify for a fourth straight edition of the World Championships on Friday (June 3).

They earned their ticket to the Nov 5-13 championships in Switzerland, following a 6-3 win over South Korea in the quarter-finals of the Men’s World Floorball Championships (WFC) Asia-Oceania qualifiers at the OCBC Arena.

The win showed the team’s “mental fortitude and maturity”, said skipper Kumaresa Pasupathy, given they had to shake off a demoralising 9-1 defeat by Thailand a day earlier in the group stage.

“It wasn’t easy for us,” said the 26-year-old. “Especially on homeground... we wanted to go all the way (unbeaten). But we regrouped, refocused and ultimately our primary goal was to qualify.

“We had a team meeting, and apart from all the technical stuff, the mental game and mental strength was what kept us together.”

Akmal Shaharudin got Singapore off to a positive start by drawing first blood, and the home side saw out the first period 2-1.

They scored another three in the second period to lead 5-2 heading into the final stanza, and held firm despite strong Korean pressure.

Pasupathy thanked Ranald Joseph, a sports scientist working with the team, for helping them tide through the storm.

“He (Joseph) gathered us and helped us visualise and prepare for this (pressure). We knew we... had to be patient and we knew we had it in ourselves to seal the game. No one’s going to go without a fight, so we had to be smart about it.”

The skipper said he did not want to look too far ahead to the World Championships, other than that they aim to better their 16th place at the previous edition.

He preferred to focus on Saturday's third-place match against Australia, who also earned the nod for the world meet after beating Oceania rivals New Zealand 9-0 in Friday's other quarter-final.

Singapore and Australia join Thailand and the Philippines, who had topped the group stage a day earlier to automatically earn their berths at the biennial world meet.

The hosts had begun the qualifiers at the OCBC Arena with two wins, beating Malaysia 8-2 on Tuesday and New Zealand 4-0 a day later, but then suffered a 9-1 trouncing by the Thais.

Besides the Swiss and defending champions Sweden, the other teams who have qualified for the World Championships are Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Denmark.

The WFC Asia-Oceania qualifiers end today with placing matches beginning at 10.15am, culminating in the final between the Philippines and Thailand at 6.30pm. Singapore and Australia play at 3.45pm.

All the matches are livestreamed via the International Floorball Federation’s YouTube channel.

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