Sunday, June 24, 2012

Project 2013's Europe Tour...

THE Project 2013 squad will get an early boost when they  travel to Europe and play a series of matches against  European Junior World Cup Qualifier teams.
    Malaysia has already qualified for the Junior World Cup, to  be held in November next year in New Delhi, after they  became champions in the Malacca Junior Asia Cup.
   “I will be taking at least 20 players who will be eligible to  play in the Junior World Cup next year, and leave out those  who helped in the Junior Asia Cup but will be overage for New  Delhi,” said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
   Traveling at the end of July, the first stop will be Valencia,  Spain, where they will play two matches against Spain  Juniors, two against France Juniors, two against Belgium  Juniors, and one against a Netherlands Division One side.
    After that, they depart for Poland where two matches will  be played against the Polish juniors and then the seniors.
    “The timing is just right as we will play teams who will be  preparing for the European Juniors Nations Championship  (a World Cup Qualifier starting on July 26) and so we are  assured of playing quality matches,” said Dharmaraj.
     However, after they return and play in the Sultan of Johor  Cup, Dharmaraj will include the six players who will be  overage for the World Cup.
   “I need the six players to keep the Sultan of Johor Cup  trophy in Malaysia. As the defending champions, we must  have the best players available for the second edition.
    “We still have ample time to prepare the Junior World Cup  players, and in the 2013 Sultan of Johor Cup which is  expected to be held one month before the Junior World Cup,  I will get a chance to field the World Cup proper team,” said  Dharmaraj.
    On tour attachments for his charges: “Faizal (Saari) has  already secured a spot with Athletico Madrid and will play in  the European Hockey League. And 16 other players also have  been selected to join European Clubs, but it all depends on  when the MHC (Malaysia Hockey Confederation) decide to  hold the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League).
   “The calendar for the MHL this year is still not out yet, and  if it clashes with the EHL, then we will not be able to send  juniors to Europe attachments, as they already have con tracts with clubs in Malaysia,” said Dharmaraj.