Friday, April 6, 2012

Now Bangladesh pull out of Junior Asia Cup

BANGLADESH threw another spanner in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca on May 3-13, and now the tournamet will only have eight teams.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) have now suffered a triple bogey in pull-outs, as earlier Thailand and Singapore were the casualties.
Now, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation has redrawn the groupings, and in Group A will Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Iran. Defending champions India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka make up Group B.
"I just heard today (yesterday) that Bangladesh has withdrawn from the tournament and there will be a redraw of the groupings. However, I am not too concerned with the latest twist, as the strong teams are still around," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
The AHF tournament will offer only two tickets to the Junior World Cup in New Delhi next year, while India are automatic qualifiers as hosts.
"That is also a new development for me as earlier I thought four teams (including India) will qualify for the World Cup.
"But that has not changed anything, as I believe if you live by the sword, you must be willing to die by the sword.
"In short, my target has always been to win the gold medal in Malacca, and it has not changed," said Dharmaraj.
Yesterday, Project 2013 played a friendly against Pakistan at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil and lost 5-3. The second friendly will be held today.
Pakistan coach Rana Mujahid Ali said: "We came one month early to test our strength against Malaysia and will return home on April 14. We will be back here for the tournament on April 28.
"Malaysia have a very strong side, as they beat us 2-1 in the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup. I believe that Pakistan, Malaysia and South Korea will be the front-runners for the World Cup tickets here, as India have already qualified," said Rana.

Bad news for junior squad

THE Project 2013's quest to qualify for the New Delhi Junior World Cup next year just became a notch harder as only two berths will be made available in the Malacca Junior Asia Cup on May 3-13.
Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra, who was in Barcelona for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Executive Board meeting over the weekend, came back with this piece of bad news.
"We discussed the matter in Barcelona and FIH has provisionally agreed to only two teams from the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca qualifying for the World Cup as only nine teams are registered for the tournament.
"However, FIH might review that quota after looking at other continental qualifiers at a later date," said Alagendra.
India, as hosts, have already qualified and are in Group B with Pakistan, China and Bangladesh of the Junior Asia Cup.
Malaysia are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka and Iran.
"Thailand's withdrawal and Singapore's inability to field a team has prompted FIH to come to that decision.
"However, the AHF is still in discussion with Singapore, and have appealed to them to field a side and make it into a 10-team tournament," said Alagendra.