Friday, July 4, 2008

Under-20 for Asia Cup

Junior goalkepeepers after training.
Goalkeepers' coach Shahid Ali Khan training his charges for the Asia Cup.

NATIONAL Juniors coach V. Muraleedharan has set his sights on the semi-finals in the Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India, on July 11-18.
Three tickets to the 2009 Junior World Cup will be on offer in Hyderabad, but since Malaysia have qualified by virtue of being hosts, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) selected only players who will be eligible to play next year.
Malaysia open their campaign against Singapore, who have also qualified as co-hosts, and Muraleedharan is confident of three points.
Malaysia have Japan, India and Singapore in Group A, while Bangladesh, South Korea, Oman and Pakistan are the Group B cast.
“Even if Singapore field Under-21 players, I believe we will win three points, and then we will have to beat either Japan or India to qualify for the semi-finals,” said Muraleedharan after naming the 18 for Hyderabad yesterday.
There will be five new additions from the recent European Tour, where Malaysia only won two of nine matches played.
“I believe the team is now stronger and we will aim for the semi-finals.”
The squad: Hakim Adnan, Safiuddin Sahrom; Kazamirul Nasruddin, Sybrie Shamsuddin, Nor Hafiq Gaffar, Marhan Jalil, Noor Khairul Azrain, Khairil Anuar, Shafiq Zain, Hang Edzharsyah, Andika Rahis, Fitri Bakar, Azammi Adabi, R. Nadesh, Fareez Ismail, Faizal Saari, Azreen Rizal. Coach: V. Muraleedharan; Assistant coach: K. Rajan; Manager: Ranjit Singh.
Meanwhile, it has been brought to Timesport’s attention that in a report headlined “Bleak future for Muraleedharan’s squad”. which appeared on June 28, a quote which read: “These are the best players in the country today, but they do not measure up, because the schools system has failed to hammer the basics in them,” was wrongly attributed to Muraleedharan. The error is regretted.

MPGA Strikes Back

MALAYSIAN Professional Golfers Association (MPGA) secretary S. Selvakumar believes the Asian Tour should not interfere in Malaysia’s domestic problems.
On Thursday, Asian PGA Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han singled MPGA as not interested in developing their pros: " "Unfortunately, the Malaysian PGA is the only organisation which we have had problems with over the years and it’s hindering the growth of Malaysian golf," added Han.
Selvakumar said: "The Asian Tour has not fulfilled its financial obligations with the MPGA since the 2006 Johor Open.
"So, the Asian Tour chairman should not interfere with the affairs of the MPGA, as he has no authority to talk about professional golf in Malaysia."
On the expulsion of a group of players, Selvakumar said: "The decision was taken after giving the said golfers a chance to explain themselves.
"Even after an 11-month appeal period, they did not bother to appeal, and the MPGA did not want to be held to ransom by a group of indisciplined players."
The MPGA statement also read: "The leading professionals in the world today like Vijay Singh and Jeev Milkha Singh all played in the Malaysian Tour which was sanctioned by the MPGA.
"They have excelled with the experience from the Malaysian Tour. Even Kyi Hla Han himself gained from the Malaysian Tour when his own country could not provide him the playing experience."
Selvakumar also said that the MPGA has its own Order of Merit, which is recognised world-wide.
"The MPGA is a growing organisation, currently with 180 members and we hope to have more than 300 members by the middle of 2009," said Selvakumar.
Selvakumar also emphasised the need for the states to ensure that MPGA sanctions these tournament so that local professionals get the benefit.
"Why must tax payers' money be spent on foreign players? Where is the desire to give more seats to locals when they are the ones who need tournaments to hone their skills?"