Friday, April 6, 2012

Now Bangladesh pull out of Junior Asia Cup

BANGLADESH threw another spanner in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13, and now the tournamet will only have eight teams.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) have now suffered a triple bogey in pull-outs, as earlier Thailand and Singapore were the casualties.
Now, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation has redrawn the groupings, and in Group A will Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Iran. Defending champions India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka make up Group B.
"I just heard today (yesterday) that Bangladesh has withdrawn from the tournament and there will be a redraw of the groupings. However, I am not too concerned with the latest twist, as the strong teams are still around," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
The AHF tournament will offer only two tickets to the Junior World Cup in New Delhi next year, while India are automatic qualifiers as hosts.
"That is also a new development for me as earlier I thought four teams (including India) will qualify for the World Cup.
"But that has not changed anything, as I believe if you live by the sword, you must be willing to die by the sword.
"In short, my target has always been to win the gold medal in Malacca, and it has not changed," said Dharmaraj.
Yesterday, Project 2013 played a friendly against Pakistan at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil and lost 5-3. The second friendly will be held today.
Pakistan coach Rana Mujahid Ali said: "We came one month early to test our strength against Malaysia and will return home on April 14. We will be back here for the tournament on April 28.
"Malaysia have a very strong side, as they beat us 2-1 in the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup. I believe that Pakistan, Malaysia and South Korea will be the front-runners for the World Cup tickets here, as India have already qualified," said Rana.