Friday, January 9, 2015


GROUP A: Malaysia, Oman, Ukraine, Singapore.
GROUP B: Japan, Poland, Bangladesh, Mexico.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time):
  Jan 17: Group A: Malaysia v Ukraine (5.30pm), Oman v Singapore

(8pm); Group B: Japan v Bangladesh (9am), Poland v Mexico (3pm).
  Jan 18: Group B: Bangladesh v Mexico (3pm), Poland v Japan (5.30pm).
  Jan 19: Group A: Ukraine v Singapore (3pm), Oman v Malaysia

  Jan 20: Group A: Ukraine v Oman (5.30pm), Malaysia v Singapore

(8pm); Group B: Japan v Mexico (9am), Bangladesh v Poland (3pm).
  Jan 21: REST DAY
  Jan 22: Quarter-finals
  Jan 23: Fifth-Eighth
  Jan 24: Semi-finals
  Jan 25: Final and placing matches.

Baljit back in the fold..

BALJIT SINGH Charun (pic) was the surprise inclusion when national coach Tai Beng Hai named his 18 for the World League Round Two in Singapore on Jan 17-25.
  Baljit was left out in the cold last year, as he was dropped from the World Cup as well as the Asian Games and only played in the Commonwealth Games.
  The squad, to be led by penalty corner flicker and defender Razie Rahim, have been tasked to finish top-two in Singapore as there teams will get the chance to play in the World League Semi-finals where tickets to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics await.
  "We have selected the best and the target is for the team to enter the final as only three teams will play in the next qualifier either in Argentina or Belgium," said Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
  Beng Hai again reiterated that the tournament will start at the semi-finals stage for his players.
  "We should make the semi-finals, where the actual tournament will start as we need to make it into the final and claim the World League Semi-finals ticket early.
  "And as the top-ranked team in the tournament, the target is achievable," said Beng Hai.
  Malaysia are in Group A with Oman, Ukraine and Singapore while in Group B are Japan, Poland, Bangladesh and Singapore.
  All eight teams qualify for the quarter-finals, and Malaysia must finish as group champions to play against likely opponents Bangladesh of Mexico.
  Seasoned goalkeeper S. Kumar, who helped Malaysia qualify for the last World Cup by being a pillar in the penalty shoot-out against Japan in the World League Semi-finals, had a word of caution.
  "I am ready to help the country qualify for the next round, but my mates and I know that lower ranked teams are no longer push-overs and we need to subdue them in the first two quarters by scoring as many goals as possible.
  "If not, they grow in confidence and will be difficult to handle in the next two quarters," said Kumar.
  His caution is timely, as Malaysia did take Trinidad and Tobago lightly in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and suffered a humiliating 4-2 defeat in the hand of the minnows.
  Baljit, after being sidelined by previous coaches, has the full backing of Beng Hai.
  "I ready to play for the country again, and give my best to take the team to the next level. I missed the World Cup, so my next dream is to play in the Rio Olympics," said Baljit.
  Baljit was an unfortunate casualty last year, as after helping Malaysia finish fifth in the World League Semi-finals and qualifying for the World Cup, he was bundled out of the team unceremonially and missed a lifetime chance to play in The Netherlands.
   TEAM: Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin; Defenders: Azlan Misron, Baljit Singh Charun, Sukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Razie Rahim; Midfielders: Shahrun Nabil, Faiz Helmi, Meor Azuan, Fitri Saari, Marhan Jalil, Nabil Fiqri; Forwards: Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Firhan Ashaari, Haziq Samsul.