Monday, May 3, 2010

Wait another day...

NATIONAL coach Stephen van Huizen could not make up his mind after watching Malaysia beat Egypt 2-0 in a friendly at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
So, he will only name the final squad of 18 after testing four players against Australia in another friendly today.
Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan, India, South Korea, China and Egypt will be involved in the seven-team invitational tournament from Thursday.
“Stephen wanted more time to test four players who are recovering from injuries before naming his final squad. So, we will only release the final squad tomorrow (today),” said team manager George Koshy.
Jivan Mohan, Azlan Misron, Shahron Nabil and S. Baljit Singh are the four who will get another chance to prove themselves.
However, based on current form, the players listed below should find their place for the Azlan Shah Cup.
PROBABLE LIST: S. Kumar, Kairulnizam Ibrahim, Razie Rahim, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim, C. Baljit Singh, Ahmad Kazamirul, Azreen Rizal Nasir.
Tajol Rosli, Shahrun Nabil, Marhan Jalil, Nabil Fiqri Nor, Sukri Mutalib, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Hafi fihafiz Hanafi, Azlan Misron, Izwan Firdaus.
Team Manager: George Koshy; Chief coach: Stephen van Huizen; Assistant coach: Tai Beng Hai
PAST RECORD; 1983 – Fourth; 1985 – Runner Up; 1987 – Fourth; 1991 – Fifth; 1994 – Fourth; 1995 – Sixth; 1996 – Third; 1998 – Sixth; 1999 – Fifth; 2000 – Fourth; 2001 – Seventh; 2003 – Fifth; 2004 – Sixth; 2005 – Sixth; 2006 – Eight; 2007 – Runner Up; 2008 – Seventh; 2009 – Runner Up.

2010 Azlan Shah Cup fixtures

SEVEN teams for the Azlan Shah Cup are World Champions Australia, South Korea, Pakistan, China, India, Egypt and Malaysia.

Thursday, May 6
1605 - South Korea v Egypt
1805 - China v India
2005 - Pakistan v Malaysia

Friday, May 7
1605 - Austraia v Egypt
1805 - Pakistan v India
2005 - South Korea v Malaysia

Saturday, May 8 - Rest Day

Sunday, May 9
1605 - South Korea v India
1805 - Pakistan v China
2005 - Australia v Malaysia

Monday, May 10
1605 - South Korea v China
1805 - Australia v India
2005 - Malaysia v Egypt

Tuesday, May 11 - Rest Day

Wednesday, May 12
1605 - Australia v Pakistan
1805 - China v Egypt
2005 - India v Malaysia

Thursday, May 13
1605 - Pakistan v Egypt
1805 - Australia v South Korea
2005 - China v Malaysia

Friday, May 14 - Rest Day

Saturday, May 15
1605 - Australia v China
1805 - South Korea v Pakistan
2005 - India v Egypt

Sunday, May 16
1605 - 5/6th Placing
1805 - 3/4th Placing
2035 - Final

A blooding exercise in Ipoh

By Jugjet Singh

THE Azlan Shah Cup was incepted in 1983 with Australia becoming the Inaugural champions, and they went on to win the Invitational for another four times in 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Five titles out of nine appearances is the World No 1’s achievement, and they are expected to be in the final of the 19th Edition which starts in Ipoh on Thursday, even with almost a complete new cast.
Australia beat the Germans to the World title in New Delhi, but only four from that team will be fielded in the Azlan Shah Cup.
But that does not make them a whipping side, as the second stringers in Australia will be fighting for limited space in the Champions Trophy line-up, and Azlan Shah Cup will be their selection ground.
Pakistan has also dropped many seniors, but it has nothing to do with planning for the future, but more like weeding out the deadwood which sunk them to the bottom of the 12-team World Cup.
Captain Zeeshan Ashraf, Akhtar Ali and Mohammad Waseem are said to have requested for rest while world record goal-scorer Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi were not selected.
Goalkeeper Salman Akbar, who also played in World Cup, did not attend trials, and he completed the seven dwarfs cast who will not have a role to play in the drama that will unfold at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
India, who ended eighth at their own World Cup, have gone on a witch-hunt and dropped four players who were among those who revolted for a players contract just weeks before the showcase was supposed to start.
Sandeep Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh goal keeper Adrian D’Souza and Vikram Pillay are among those who have been left out and new blood injected.
Both Pakistan and India were considered flops in the World Cup, and are said to be on a team-building exercise, with the Azlan Shah Cup tournament a perfect venue to blood new players.
South Korea, sixth in the World Cup, will present eight new players, as they look to win the Asian Games gold and qualify on merit for the 2013 London Olympics.
And the early indication is that the Koreans will play in the final against Australia for the 19th Azlan Shah Cup gold.
The Invitational will also see China and Egypt in the fray, and any team which dismisses them before taking them head on for 70 minutes might pay for their folly.
Malaysia, with many players on the injury list, will also blood some new players but finishing fourth is not out of their capabilities.
We have the distinction of being the runner-up last year, but just like all the other teams, this tournament is just a warm-up for coach Stephen van Huizen’s men as they prepare to snatch the Asian Games gold medal from the grips of South Korea, India, Pakistan, China and Japan.