C. Baljit Singh (left) was voted as the Best Overall player in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division.
SIXTEEN players from the Invercargill World Cup Qualifier received a call-up to attend national training on Feb 22, which will also see an infusion of Junior World Cup players who did exceptionally well in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
Stephen van Huizen, who will handle the team together with Tai Beng Hai, said they selected the best in the country, and the Asia Cup in April will be their first assignment.
“Beng Hai and I had a discussion after the MHL, and we decided to name 16 players from the Qualifier and nine others who did well in the MHL. These 25 are the best in the country, and we will work with them to form a side for the Asian Champions Trophy,” said van Huizen yesterday.
From the Qualifiers squad, Jiwa Mohan was not named because he is working in Perth, while S. Selvaraju did not play much of the MHL because he is injured.
“We could not name Jiwa in the training list because he is based in Perth, but he has not been dropped. If we need him for any tournament, we will liaise with the Malaysian Hockey Federation to secure his services.”
The training squad has four goalkeepers: “Kumar, even at 31, is still the best in the country but we need to have a back- up as this is a highly specialised area.”
Khairulnizam Ibrahim was the reserve in Invercargill, while the other two who received a call-up are Abdul Hakim Adnan who played for Maybank in the MHL, and Fairus Wanazir of Tenaga Nasional.
The Junior World Cup players who caught the eyes of the selectors are Abdul Hakim, Sybrie Shamsudin, Ahmad Kaza mirul, Harvinder Singh, Azammi Adabi and Izwan Firdaus.
The youngest player on the list is 19-year-old Faizal Saari, but he has the experience of playing in the Champions Challenge II and the World Cup Qualifier.
TRAINING SQUAD: Goalkeepers -- S. Kumar (31, Tenaga), Abdul Hakim Adnan (24, Maybank), Fairus Wanazir (23, Tenaga), Khairulnizam Ibrahim (26, KLHC).
Defenders: Razie Rahim (23, KLHC), Madzli Ikmar (31, Tenaga), C. Baljit Singh (24, Tenaga), Ahmad Kazamirul (22, Sapura), Amin Rahim (30, Tenaga), Sybrie Shamsudin (21, Maybank).
Midfield: Shahrun Nabil (25, KLHC), Marhan Jalil (20, Sapura), Nabil Fiqri (23, KLHC), Shukri Mutalib (24, KLHC), Kelvinder Singh (25, KLHC), Azreen Rizal (21, Sapura), Jivan Mohan (27, Sapura), Harvinder Singh (21, KLHC).
Forwards: Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (24, KLHC), Faizal Saari (19, Tenaga), Hafifihafiz Hanafi (24, Maybank), Azlan Misron (27, KLHC), Izwan Firdaus (21, Tenaga), Azammi Adabi (20, Maybank), B. Namasivayam (24, Maybank).