THE Senior hockey players can't take this year's Razak Cup lightly, as coach Stephen van Huizen will use it to select his team for the Japan Tour on June 8-15.
And those who played in the recent Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, where Malaysia finished fourth, can't take their place for granted.
Van Huizen will also have to scout for two replacements as
he is set to miss to players form the Azlan Shah Cup -- skipper Razie Rahim and midfielder Nabil Fiqri -- who will be reporting for a nine-month Police training from May 8.
"The national players are on leave now and will resume training on May 3 and after 10 days, they will be released to play for their states in the Razak Cup (May 21-29).
"I will select players for the Japan Tour, of six matches including two Tests, based on performance in the Razak Cup. Those who played in the Azlan Shah Cup must also give their best, as there is no 'reserved' spot for anybody," said Van Huizen.
Malaysia had a good chance of grabbing the bronze medal, but after taking a 2-0 lead against New Zealand they crumbled to a 3-3 draw and in the shoot-out lost 5-4.
"We are still at phase one of our training and preparing for the World League Round Two, so I need to keep all the players on their toes.
"We will play six matches in Japan, and two will be Test matches so I will only take those who give their best in the Razak Cup," said van Huizen.
The only international tournament for the senior men this year is the Asian Champions Trophy which Malaysia might host in October, as negotiations are still ongoing with the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on sanction fees.
The women will also head for Japan on May 1 for a 10-day Tour against the Japan juniors to prepare for the World League Round Two which Malaysia will host in January.