THE National Juniors are shaping up well for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), where coach K. Rajan will test his probable 2009 Junior World Cup charges.
The Division One will start on Oct 17, while the Division Two on Oct 10. The National Juniors will play as an outfit in the elite division, where the coach hopes to blood his players in the run-up to the Junior World Cup.
“The boys have been training during the fasting month, and their progress has been good. We have played as a team in the Razak Cup, and the MHL will be a crucial training ground for the (Junior) World Cup,” said Rajan.
The juniors will have their hands full playing against Ernst & Young, Sapura and Tenaga -- teams which have the majority of current and former national players.
“I have been working on their fitness, and will try out numerous tactics and our penalty corner variations in the MHL. It will be a good exposure for my boys to play against the best seniors in the country,” said Rajan.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) com petitions committee have decided that the MHL will be played on home-and-away format for Division One matches.
League champions Ernst and Young had proposed that teams play each other three times in the preliminary stage but lack of time did not permit it.
There will be three breaks during the MHL, to accom modate the Asia Champion Clubs tournament from Nov 14- 16, Pesta Penang from Nov 28-30 and the Asean University Games from Dec 17-21.
Six teams from Division One and two from Division Two will qualify for the knock-out quarter-finals.