Friday, May 11, 2012

Planning for more success...

THE Project 2013 team achieved one, and will be going for  their second target against Pakistan in the final of the Junior  Asia Cup at the MBM Stadium in Malacca on Sunday.
    Malaysia has never won gold in this tournament since its inception in 1987, with the best being a silver won in the  1992 edition in Ipoh.
   The excitement is overpowering, and the wheels have  started to grind even faster as plans are afoot to send several  promising boys to play in overseas leagues.
   “It is still at a blueprint stage, as the National Sports  Council (NSC) are trying to secure top clubs in Europe or  Australia to take players from this team to a higher level,”  said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
     Mirnawan, who was in he 1992 silver winning side, feels  there is tremendous potential in this team and they need to  hone their skills by playing in tough leagues.
    “There is no point in sending the players to mediocre  leagues, as they need to play competitive hockey in Europe,  where I expect the challenge to come from during the Junior  World Cup (in New Delhi November next year),” said Mir nawan.
     NSC Director General Datuk Zolkples Embong confirmed  that talks are being initiated with several countries.
     “We are in the process of negotiating with several clubs  from three countries and hopefully are able to settle this by  the end of June.
    “We realise that our players need to be exposed in foreign  leagues in order to become complete players and hence the  NSC, with a go ahead from the Malaysian Hockey Con federation has started working on this plan.
     “We are looking at 12 to 18 players, from both the senior  and junior squads, to be placed overseas,” said  Zolkples.
     NSC took a lead role in seeking clubs for hockey players in  1997 and R. Shanker, Chairil Anwar, Nor Azlan Bakar, S.  Kuhan and Kerpal Singh went on three month stints with  clubs in Germany.
   As a result, Malaysia qualified for the 1998 Utrecht World  Cup after being in the cold for 16 years.
   Clips and bio-data of potential players for consideration of  clubs is being complied, to make them more marketable and  secure top-flight clubs.
    At the senior level, Malaysia last played in the World Cup in  Kuala Lumpur 2002, and next year they will be involved in  the Qualifier.
    With six of Project 2013 players overage to play in the New  Delhi Junior World Cup, the possibility is high that they will be  drafted into the senior side and play in the senior Qualifier  next year.
   SATURDAY: Seventh-Eighth: Iran v Sri Lanka (6pm); Fifth- Sixth: Japan v South Korea (8pm).
   SUNDAY: Final: Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm); Third- Fourth: India v South Korea (5pm).