MALACCA are primed to host their first international hockey tournament, as their stadium received an RM1 million face-lift, while the opening ceremony will be a first of its kind.
Junior Asia Cup, which also doubles up as a World Cup Qualifier, will
be held on May 3-13 with players and officials ferried by boats along
the Malacca River to the venue of the Opening ceremony.
proud to play host to the tournament and have worked hard to ensure
that all preparations are of in ternational standards,” said Datuk Nur
Azmi Ahmad, deputy president of Malacca HA and senior vice president of
the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.
“It is a honour for Malacca
to play hosts as this is the first time we are given the opportunity
to host a top class tournament and that is why we want the opening
ceremony to be a first of its kind.
“And another pride is that
Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj, manager Mirnawan Nawawi and assistant
coach Nor Azlan Bakar are all from Malacca as well,” said Nur Azmi.
Eight teams will battle for two slots to the World Cup, with India claiming the third as hosts next year in New Delhi.
The eight are -- Malaysia, South Korea, Iran and Japan in Group A,
while in Group B are India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka.
MBM Hockey Stadium has undergone renovations that cost more then RM1
million and the after effects are there for all to admire.
grandstand has been upgraded with dedicated media and broadcast rooms
and seats fitted as well on the terraces. Even the changing rooms have
been done up, truly reflecting a world class venue.
And that is not all, as the lighting system has been upgraded, enough for telecasting matches in high def inition.
And fans are also in for a treat, as host broadcaster Astro Arena are planning to telecast all Malaysian matches live.
As for Pakistan, among the favourites to claim a slot in the final, seasoned forward Umar Bhutta will lead them.
Skipper Umar Bhutta is a regular with the Pakistan senior team in
several international events, along with Kashif Shah, Ali Shan, Tousiq
Ahmed and Muhammad Rizwan.
“This is an important event for us and
we are looking to book a berth in next year’s Junior World Cup,” said
team manager cum coach Rana Mujahid.
“We have a strong
combination in presence of five senior players and we are hoping to see
boys performing well to reach the final,” he said.
squad: Mazhar Abbas, Amjad Ali (goalkeepers) Muhammad Khalid Bhatti,
Syed Kashif Shah (full-backs), M. Rizwan Jr, Kashif Javed, Muhammad
Tousiq, M.Faisal Qadir, Tawasar Abbas, Zohaib Ashraf, Ammad Shakeel
Butt (half- backs), Muhammad Irfan, Ali Shan, Muhammad Dilbar, Muhammad
Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Suleman, Hafiz Umar Sardar, Hafiz Rizwan,
Muhammad Umar, Muhammad Jaffar (forwards).