Monday, December 2, 2013

Special cargo Kartik..

THE Malaysian juniors left for New Delhi Sunday, with  the airlines carrying special cargo in two-time Junior World  Cup player Kavin Kartik (pic).
    The cargo is overweight, but worth every ounce on the  artificial pitch, as portly Kevin’s passes are accurate, and  deadly to open wide the opponents back-line.
     He is only the second Malaysian to play in the Under-21  tournament which will be held from Dec 6-15.
    The first Malaysian was M. Davendran who played in  Vancouver in 1985, and Ipoh in 1989.
    “It was a wonderful experience for me, as I was only 17  when I was selected to play in the Malaysia-Singapore joint  World Cup.
    “The coach back then was K. Rajan, and I played against  England, Spain, Egypt and Poland; and it was not an easy feat  to finish 12th among 20 teams.
   “But after the tournament, I put on too much of weight and  was almost sidelined from the training pool, but I fought  back, lost some weight and an proud to represent country  again,” said Kavin, who hails from Tampin, Negri Sem bilan.
   Tampin, even back in the ‘dark ages’ of 1975, had produced  a gem in N. Palanisamy who helped Malaysia finish fourth in  the senior World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
    And present No 1 senior goalkeeper S. Kumar also hails  from Tampin, and to name one of the other famous son is Dr  Bryan Jeyhan Siva.
    “No doubt, I would prefer Kevin to lose more weight, but his  body has not responded to all the vigorous training that I have  put him under for the last one year.
     “He is not lazy, and took the challenge to lose weight by  following the training schedule religiously, but his body  structure is such that it became almost an impossible task  even to lose a few kilos.
    “But even with his present structure, he is my first choice  because he is a strong defender, and also makes accurate  passes, which tears apart the opponents defense,” said coach  K. Dharmaraj.
     Malaysia went early to acclimatise, and also play a friendly  against one of the tournament Germany on Tuesday, before  opening their Junior World Cup accounts against New  Zealand on Dec 6, followed by South Africa (Dec 8) and  England (Dec 9).

Parents in full force..

PARENTS were in full force at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Sunday morning to send off their  hopes, and also the nation’s 18 best to play in the Junior  World Cup in New Delhi.
   The Project 2013 Squad was formed five years ago with a  special mission to qualify for the World Cup in merit and the  boys did the nation proud by clinching the Junior Asia Cup  gold medal in Malacca last year -- and made the New Delhi  grade with style.
    “It is a nice feeling to finally arrive at the airport, and you  can see that the proud parents are beaming with pride.
    “We qualified by becoming Asian champions, and now, this  squad will attempt to qualify for the quarter-finals, and even  further, as the aim is to win every match we play in New  Delhi,” said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
    The front-runners for this junior tournament are Ger manay, hosts India, Australia and a handful of other Eu ropean nations.
    “The battle in India would not only be against top-ranked  junior teams, but also the chilly wind and unpredictable year- end weather in New Delhi.
    “But the players have seen it all in their tours Down Under,  and also Europe where we had to contend with some torrid  weather in the past year.
    “And we are also ready with the right clothing, and the five- day acclimatisation would be enough to prepare the boys for  their opening match against New Zealand,” said Mirnawan.
     MALAYSIA -- Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri (goalkeeper),  Hafizuddin Othman (goalkeeper), Firhan Ashaari, Fitri Saari  (captain), Rashid Baharom, Kavin Kartik, Syamim Yusof,  Shazril Irwan Nazli, Meor Azuan, Haziq Samsul, Izad Hakimi  Jamaluddin,  Azri Hassan, Zulhairi Hashim, Faiz Helmi Jali,   Shahril Saabah, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Nor Aqmal Abdul  Ghaffar, Hafiz Zainol.