Thursday, March 26, 2009

Selvaraju boost for Azlan Shah Cup

By Ajitpal Singh

S. SELVARAJU is back in training after an injury scare and his return will be a plus point for the national team in the Azlan Shah Cup on April 6-12 and the Asia Cup on May 9-16.
Selvaraju suffered a right knee and hamstring injury during training last month. The 24-year-old was subsequently left out from the tour of South Korea, early this month.
National coach Tai Beng Hai said Selvaraju is an important entity and his presence will boost the team's chances in both tournaments.
"Selvaraju was in rehab and he only started light training when the national team were on tour. He is doing fine in training and will likely be in the Azlan Shah Cup squad," said Beng Hai.
Meanwhile, Beng Hai feels home ground advantage in the Asia Cup will spur his players further in doing their best.
The champions in the Asia Cup, to be held in Kuantan, will gain automatic qualification to the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi.
"There are pros and cons when playing at home. Of course, it will spur the players but it could also be added pressure.
"If the players do their best and play according to instructions, the home ground advantage will benefit them."
He also said both the Azlan Shah and Asia Cup will be equally important in terms of achieving different goals.
"According to my training programme, the players should be 80 per cent focused and ready for the Azlan Shah and in peak condition for the Asia Cup.
"It is also important that they do reasonably well in the Azlan Shah Cup to gain confidence."
In Korea, Beng Hai tried out some players in different positions.
"Overall the players did well in their new positions. Those who can adapt to different positions will hold an advantage in the team."
Malaysia won three out of their seven matches against university and clubs teams in Korea.