PROJECT 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj is pleased that four of his charges have broken into the senior ranks, but feels they should return to junior side once their assignments are over.
Four of his players, brothers Faizal and Fitri Saari and Firhan Ashaari, Amir Farid will play in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China, from Saturday.
They will be up against Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, China and India in the tournament.
“It is good that some of my players have managed to secure places in the senior side as their confidence level is sure to grow by playing alongside the best in the country.
“However, they need to return to the Project 2013 squad after their senior assignments to touch base with their team mates so that we have a team with a good understanding for the Qualifier next year,” said Dharmaraj.
The Junior Asia Cup in Malacca next year May is also a qualifier for the Junior World Cup in India.
“Their return to the junior side will also help improve the other players in training for the Asia Cup. If they are kept with the seniors side, then, the others in the Project Squad will become stagnant as they do not have any one to challenge their spots,” said Dharmaraj.
Faizal, who scored eight goals in the Singapore-Malaysia Junior World Cup in 2009, has since been actively involved with the senior side and has lost touch with the Project players.
He is 20-years-old, and is only eligible for the Qualifier and not for the Junior World Cup if Malaysia make the cut.
Meanwhile, the national team departed for Ordos yes terday and will open accounts against Pakistan on Sat urday.
Pakistan, who beat Malaysia 2-0 in the Asian Games final, will be without both their goal scorers Rehan Butt and Sohail Abbas as well as Salman Akbar in Ordos.
As for India, their world-class penalty corner drag flicker Sandeep Singh and midfielder Sardar Singh will be missing from the list, as both were banned two years for walking out of training camp.
ASIAN CHAMPIONS TROPHY: Sept 3: Pakistan v Malaysia; Sept 4: South Korea v Malaysia; Sept 6: China v Malaysia; Sept 7: Malaysia v India; Sept 9: Malaysia v Japan.