Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kuala Lumpur the team to watch

KUALA Lumpur will be the team to watch again in the National Under-16 hockey tournament which begins tomorrow (15/03/09)at the Seremban Stadium in Negri Sembilan.

KL are the defending champions, but their coach I. Vickneswaran feels history does not matter in junior tournaments.
"In junior tournaments, it is easier to win a title than to defend one, so we will be going in with full concentration," said Vickneswaran, a former national player.
KL will open accounts against Selangor tomorrow.
The top two teams from both groups will advance to the semi-finals.
"I have a well-balanced team and they look good in training, but since we will be playing in Seremban, the boys must get adapted to the pitch as soon as possible.
"And we also have some good flickers for penalty corners, but again, it all depends on how fast they adapt to the pitch," said Vickneswaran.
Eleven state teams and Singapore have registered for the tournament, with Sabah, Sarawak and Johor the absentees.
KL Squad: Fitri Jasni (Gk), Shahfiqzan Suhaimi (Gk), Ahmad Shahzuan, Fitri Hidayat, Hamad Ashraf, Ahmad Amirol, Mohamed Nor, Aslam Hamafiah, Taufik Hamid, Ahmed Iqwan, Shahril Saabah, Fahed Saifullah, Syawal Zakaria, Zizi Azwan, A. Kaarthiek, Khairol Shafik, Nor Aqmal.
Group A: Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor.
Group B: Johor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Singapore, Terengganu.
Tomorrow -- Group A: Kelantan v Perlis, Pahang v Perak, KL v Selangor; Group B: Johor v Terengganu, Kedah v Singapore, Negri Sembilan v Penang.

Juniors a bane for coaches

Malaysia’s Harvinder Singh Makbul Singh (second from right) is outnumbered by Singapore players in their match on Friday. — Pic: ZULKARNAIN AHMAD TAJUDDIN

TWO coaches quit because of the national juniors, and a third finds himself in a possibly similar situation as the future of Malaysian hockey has shown little promise in the ongoing Four-Nation at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

K. Rajan was placed in a tight spot on Friday, when the Juniors scored a pathetic 2-1 win over minnows Singapore.
Malaysia and Singapore co-host the Junior World Cup on June 7-21, and it looks like both will be battling to avoid last place.
Last year, Tai Beng Hai quit after this batch of players went on a losing spree of 30 friendly and tournament matches, and V. Muraleedharan was appointed as the replacement.
But barely six months into the job, Muraleedharan also sent in his quit letter, when the juniors fared miserably in the Kuala Lumpur Eight-Nation, the Poland Four-Nation, Europe friendlies and the final straw was when they drew 2-2 with Singapore in the Junior Asia Cup in Hyderabad, India.
Malaysia are in Group C of the Junior World Cup with England, South Korea, Spain and the USA. The top two in each group advance to the quarter-finals, and right now it looks like an impossible dream.
The boys did receive a sarcastic 'Terima-Kasih" from their coach after the match for their poor display against a country which will be playing in its first Junior World Cup by virtue of being co-hosts.
"I watched a recording of the match last night and the indication was that the boys could have scored at least five goals, but the last touch was missing after mounting good attacks."
Rajan, despite being let down on Friday, said that won't happen today.
Today -- Third-Fourth: Malaysia v Singapore (5pm); Final: India v Pakistan (7.30pm).