THE Malaysian hockey Federation (MHF) want a spot in the final, and coach Sarjit Singh believes his charges will be up to it when the Azlan Shah Cup starts in Ipoh on Thursday.
Malaysia will open accounts with Pakistan on Thursday, and Sarjit feels his charges have an equal chance.
After the council meeting on Saturday, MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor said: "Last year there was a stronger field and we made it to the final, so this year, I see no reason why the team should not be in the final again."
"This is not an easy field, as Pakistan, Canada, Belgium and New Zealand have qualified for the Beijing Olympics, while Malaysia, Argentina and India were runners-up in their respective Olympic Qualifiers.
"However, since the difference in strength among all seven teams is not big, it will be touch-and-go in all the matches and reaching the final is not beyond our reach," said Sarjit.
Four players from the Japan Qualifiers were left out.
"S. Kuhan, Shahrun Nabil and Razie (Abdul Rahman) are injured, while Ahmad Anuar (Sham) has been placed on the reserve list."
Baljit Singh (Sarjab), Megat Azrafiq, Riduan Nasir and Amirullah Aziz were selected to replace the four.
"Jiwa (Mohan) has also managed to secure leave from his employers and he will again be an asset. He scored three penalty corner goals in Japan, and I am sure he will be good for more goals in Ipoh," said Sarjit.
MALAYSIA: Goalkeepers -- S. Kumar, Hanafi Hassan; Defenders: Megat Azrafiq, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim, Baljit Singh Sarjab, Baljit Singh Charun.
Midfielders: Sukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Kelvinder Singh, Jiwa Mohan, Jivan Mohan, Riduan Nasir.
Forwards: S. Selvaraju, Chua Boon Huat, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Ismail Abu, Amirullah Aziz.
Reserves: Ahmad Anuar Sham Kamar, Hafifi Hafiz.
FIXTURES -- Thursday: India v New Zealand (4pm), Argentina v Belgium (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).
Friday: Canada v Belgium (4pm), Pakistan v New Zealand (6pm), Argentina v India (8pm).
Saturday: REST DAY.
Sunday: Canada v India (4pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Argentina (8pm).
May 12: Belgium v India (4pm), Canada v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Argentina (8pm).
May 13: REST DAY.
May 14: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Belgium v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8pm).
May 15: India v Pakistan (4pm), New Zealand v Canada (6pm), Belgium v Malaysia (8pm).
May 16: REST DAY.
May 17: Argentina v Canada (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), New Zealand v Belgium (8pm).
May 18: Classifications and Final (8pm).