KUALA LUMPUR: 1Mas chief boys coach S. Velappan said the quality of play has improved tremendously in the ongoing National Under-16 tournament as compared to previous years.
There is better preparation from states, the boys have better basis skills and even the coaches employ cunning tactics at this age-group level.
"Most of these boys have gone through the various 1Mas programmes at their states and compared to previous years, I can see vast improvement in many areas.
"The top six boys teams like Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Johor, Penang and Malacca are playing at a maturity level is also better team work, commitment and tactics employed in the ongoing tournament," said Velappan.
The 1Mas programme was started by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) in 2010 with an objective to widen the base and pool of young players in the country.
While it did not work out in some states, many other states are still strongly involved with the MHC programme.
"After this tournament we will select 27 players to be called up for various camps and programmes to make them better. The core group of youth are presently with the Project 2020 team coached by Nor Saiful Zaini, while this Under-16 group will be coached as the second wave of youth talent for the nation," said Velappan.