THE Sixth Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) promises high quality matches as most teams will be using the tournament as a final preparation for the Junior World Cup in Dec 8-18 in Lucknow, India.
Organised by the Johor Hockey Association, the SOJC will be held on Oct 31 to Nov 6 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, and entry is free.
The six competing are Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and hosts Malaysia with England and Japan making their debut.
Only Malaysia will not see action at the Junior World Cup and team manager Yahya Atan was the first to admit that it will be a keenly contested tournament.
"All the five other teams are in the final stages of preparation for the Junior World Cup and will potentially be the early favourites for the title," said Yahya.
"We will no doubt face strong opponents but at the same time our players too have benefited from playing in the Australian Hockey League as part of our preparations for the SOJC."
Yahya added that the team will be going to Johor Baru on October 24 and the final list of players, coached by Wallace Tan and Amin Rahim will be announced this coming Friday.
Two juniors, Najmi Farizal Azlan and Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi who are eligible to play in the Under-21 tournament have been selected for duty with the senior national team that will compete in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan on Oct 20-30.
However Najib Hassan, another player in the senior training squad, has been given the nod to join his junior counterparts.
The team can count on Rizwan Azmi, Firdaus Omar, Lukman Nur Hakim, Nor Azmi Rahman, Syed Shafiq Syed Choulan, Amirul Aideed, Ashran Hamsani, Rafizul Ezry Mustafa, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Sufi Ismat Rohulmin and Akhimullah Anuar, all of whom were in Perth, Australia for the AHL.
Yesterday, several sponsors presented their contributions towards the tournament to YAM Tunku Idris Iskandar ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Tengku Temenggong Johor.
The total sponsorship received was RM1.450 million.
Also present was Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Johor Hockey Association President Datuk Haji Jais Sarday and Deputy President Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah.
Leading the list of contributors were the Johor State Government with RM500,000, followed by Astaka Padu RM200,000, Johor Corporation, UM Land, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Yayasan Harmoni, JBB Builders, all contributing RM100,000 each.