Friday, June 3, 2016

Japan Tour: Chance for others to shine..

NATIONAL coach Stephen van Huizen picked a young squad for the Japan Tour on June 5-16, as the seniors are either down with injury, have exams, drafted into the Police Force and have personal commitments.
  Looking at the positive side, van Huizen said this is a golden chance for others to show their prowess.
  "We will be playing six matches against Japan, four of which are friendlies and two are Tests. Even though many of the seniors are not available for this Tour, I believe it gives an opportunity to our younger players," said van Huizen.
  Goalkeeper S. Kumar is still nursing his thigh injury, 
Faiz Helmi and Fitri Saari have examinations and Shahril Saabah has family commitments.
  National skipper Razie Rahim and Nabil Fiqri are back with Police training after getting a brief release to play in the Razak Cup.
  "In their place, 19-year-old players and also those who did not play in the Azlan Shah Cup like Baljit Singh and Harvinder Singh have been called up. This is a golden opportunity for them to shine.'
  Razak Cup top scorer Faizal Shaari will have to sit out the Tour, as his ban from playing in international tournaments only ends on June 20.
  Terengganu Hockey team goalkeeper Hazrul Faiz, 22, and Syafiq Sumantri, 19, are among those who will be under the spotlight in Japan.
  The Tour will be used to prepare the team for the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, which offers ranking points for the top-three teams for the first time.
  Umpire Rais Zakaria will be accompanying the team to officiate in both Test and he will also be officiating at the upcoming Sultan of Johor Cup.
  JAPAN TOUR: Goalkeepers: Hairi Rahman, Hazrul Faiz; Defenders: Shukri Mutalib, Izad Hakimi, Baljit Singh, Najmi Farizal, Najib Hassan, Firdaus Omar, Marhan Jalil, Meor Azuan, Joel Samuel Van Huizen, Azri Hassan, Harvinder Singh, Firhan Ashaari, Norhizzat Sumantri, Ramadan Rosli, Rashid Baharom, Haziq Samsul, Nik Aiman Rozemi, Nor Syafiq Sumantri.

Hunt begins for Indian talents...

PLANS are afoot to help Indian hockey players get more exposure, in the same style as the Malaysian Indian Football Association (MIFA) are doing in soccer.
  MIFA president T. Indran said they started by fielding a team in the last Junior Hockey League, and hope to play a bigger role in promoting hockey among the Indians in the country.
  "We fielded MISCF-UFL in Division Two of the recent JHL with 18 Indian boys and even though the results were not encouraging, its a first step towards helping Indian players get back into the top level of hockey," said Indran.
  The team, from Mentakab, finished seventh out of eight teams in Group B of the JHL
  MIFA, with Malaysian Indian Sports Council, have a team in the FAM League are are currently second in Group A.
  "Over the years Indian players, which include Punjabis, have slowly moved away from Soccer and hockey and if nothing is done, the community will be in the losing end," said Indran.
  Currently, only Baljit Singh and S. Kumar are in the national seniors team, while no Indians are in the junior side.
  "The players need to be given more chances to play, like we did in the JHL. Even though the team only won one and drew one in seven matches, they received invaluable exposure in the JHL," said Indran.
  Towards that, MIFA will also work with Selangor to train an Under-18 team for the Sukan India Malaysia (Sukim) carnival in Negri Sembilan on July 14-17.
  "Seven sports will be held during the Sukim in Negri, and we will be helping Selangor to form a hockey team. It is a small step, but hopefully in the long run, there will be more Indian players playing hockey for the country,' said Indran.
  Selangor hockey held an open selection last weekend under coach K. Ravi, were 18 hopefuls were selected for Sukim.