And goalkeepers are well below par in all the 13 states competing in the boys section.
This observation was made by National Sports Council (NSC) development coach K. Dharmaraj who is tasked with selecting at least 40 boys from this tournament for the 2020 Junior World Cup.
Commenting on the boys event Dharmaraj said: "Compared to the last edition, which had many exceptional players, this year there are more average players in every state while the goalkeeping department needs more attention.
"I am supposed to select 40 players, of which four would be goalkeepers, but since the standard of goalkeeping is very poor, I might make a suggestion to have separate training for them by selecting 10 as this department is quite weak in the national under-16," said Dharmaraj who coached Malaysia to win their first Junior Asia Cup gold medal and then took the team to finish fourth in the New Delhi World Cup.
Meanwhile, in the Girls' Group B, Kuala Lumpur moved into the semi-finals when they edged Negri Sembilan 1-0 with the winner coming from Nurul Syahirah in the 30th minute. The slim wins saw them finish second in the group.
KL will play Group A champions Penang in the semis today.
In the Girls Group B, Selangor emerged champions without dropping a point when they beat Pahang 6-0 yesterday.
RESULTS Boys' Group B: Kelantan 1 Sabah 6, Perak 3 Kedah 0, Negri Sembilan 2 Kuala Lumpur 3.
Girls' Group B: Negri Sembilan 0 Kuala Lumpur 1, Terengganu 4 Sabah 4, Selangor 6 Pahang 0.
TODAY: Boys' Semi-finals: Malacca v Perak (6pm, Pitch I), Johor v Pahang (6pm, Pitch II).
Girls' semi-finals: Selangor v Kedah (4pm, Pitch II), Penang v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch I).
(All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)