Friday, May 6, 2016

Pavandip and gang head for Mannheim Whitsun Cup

FORMER Olympian Nor Saiful Zaini named 18 under-16 players Friday for the Whitsun Cup in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13-16 as Malaysia embark on a journey towards the 2020 Junior World Cup.
  The boys were selected after the recent National Under-16 tournament, and underwent a four-day training in Ipoh during the Azlan Shah Cup.
  In Mannheim, they will play against Netherlands, German Under-16 and German Under-17.
  This is an invitational tournament where Malaysia were left out for the last two editions. However, Malaysia finished second behind Germany in the Whitsun Cup when it made its debut in 2010.
  "We selected a pool of 30 from the National Under-16 tournament and after four days in Ipoh, the 18 were selected for Mannheim. These are the cream of the crop, but they lack international experience and would get their first taste against two German teams and the Netherlands," said Saiful Zaini.
  Only three players have seen action overseas, when they played for 1Mas in the FHE Cup in Perth last year.
  Midfielders Pavandip Singh s/o Gurdip Singh and Akram Hakkam; and goalkeeper Hamiz Ahir helped 1Mas become champions in the tournament by beating Western Australia Heat 1-0 in the final.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation CEO K. Logan Raj said: "The MHC reiterates its commitment towards development and the formulation of a strong team for the Junior World Cup 2020.
  "It is then imperative to understand that results, although significant, currently takes a back seat to the overall plan."
  No targets were set for the boys, as Saiful Zaini was more inclined towards blooding the boys.
  "This will be a first international tournament for 15 of my players so I will not focus on results. Of course we will aim to finish as high as possible, but going into the tournament with no knowledge of the two German teams as well as Netherlands, we will have to play by ear during each match," said Saiful Zaini.
 MALAYSIAN Under-16: Goalkeepers: Hamiz Ahir, Helmi Fazli; Defenders: Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin, Zulfitri Zin, Arif Syafie.
 Midfielders: Pavandip Singh s/o Gurdip Singh, Amirul Hamizan, Akram Hakkam, Granson Noel, Faiz Aiman, Zafri Afiq, Syarman Mat Tee.
 Forwards: Haridzmi Nizam, Noor Firdaus Rosdi, Muhibuddin Moharam, Syamin Naim, Saifuddin Azli, Akhimullah Anuar.
  Coach: Nur Saiful Zaini; Assistant Coach: Sufian Mohamed.

Our women blow hot and cold in Japan...

THE Malaysian women's hockey team started their Japan Tour on a good note, but could not sustain the pace after playing two matches per-day in Kakamigahara.
  Coach K. Dharmaraj's players beat Japan juniors A 3-2 in the morning and held Japan juniors B 2-2 in the evening of May 3, but their next back-to-back matches turned out to be drubbings.
  They lost 2-0 to Japan juniors A 2-0 and Nanto Bank Japan 5-0 in matches played in Wednesday morning and evening.
  And on Thursday, they played two more back-to-back matches and lost 2-1 to Japan Juniors and 5-1 to Japan Juniors A.
  The women will play three more matches before ending the Tour on May 10.
  Meanwhile, 14 teams will kick-start the inaugural 1MAS Boys' Under-13 tournament at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh Friday.
  The two-day tournament will be played on a zonal system with Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Sabah drawn in North zone while Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur in central zone.
  In East zone are Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Sarawak while South zone has Malacca, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.
  The champion of each zone will advance to the final at a later date.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Director of Development, Tai Beng Hai, said the 1MAS programmes complements the age-group tournaments organised by the Ministry of Education (KPM) and Malaysian Schools Sports council (MSSM).
  “MHC is working in tandem with KPM and MSSM in our efforts to create a wider pool of junior players. These tournaments are good exposure for the younger players who will develop into better players as they progress to play in the National Under-14 and Under-16 tournaments in future,” said Beng Hai.
  MHC, said Beng Hai, looks into organising National Under-14 and Under-16 tournaments while the Under-11, Under-13 and Under-15 tournaments come under the purview of 1MAS.
  The 1MAS Girls Under-13 tournament will be held at a later date.