16-year-old Kavin Kartik (centre) will be closely watched in the MHL.
THE National Juniors will be thrown into the lion’s den when they square off against TNB Cup champions Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) on Oct 17.
Coach by former Tenaga coach K. Rajan, the juniors are expected to face a challenging time in the MHL, which is a first step towards preparing for the Junior World Cup next year.
“We have had good training matches against Tenaga and Maybank, where my boys lost by two or one goal only. The shape is there, and only the defense is still a little shaky,” said Rajan.
The coach has named his best 22 for the MHL, while Maybank has roped in five juniors, Tenaga one and Sapura one.
“The whole training team will be playing in the MHL as seven of them have been selected by other teams and it will give me a chance to see how they perform against current and former internationals,” said Rajan.
The youngest junior is 16-year-old Kavin Kartik from Negri Sembilan, who was selected into the training squad after an impressive performance in the Razak Cup.
Negri beat Kuala Lumpur, the eventual champions, 2-0 in the Razak Cup with both goals coming from Kavin.
“The team is physically much better than when they played in the Razak Cup, and I will be expecting much more from them.”
And after more than a decade, a Chinese boy has also managed to make the national squad in Wong Khee Hon.
NATIONAL JUNIORS: Asmawi Zaidi (goalkeeper), Hairi Rahman (goalkeeper), R. Nadesh, Ahmad Kazamirul, Sybrie Shamsudin, Nor Hafiq Gaffar, Marhan Jalil, Noor Khairul Azrain, Khairil Isa, Izzat Rahim, Jamil Saidin, Andika Norarahis, Izwan Firdaus, S. Aneshkumar, Razlee Amree, Fareez Ismail, Wong Khee Hon, Kavin Kartik, Khairul Azwan Hamid, Harvinder Singh, Azreen Rizal Nasir, Sabri Mohamad.