Monday, December 29, 2014

Full schedule of activities for hockey juniors in 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive and interruption-free programme has been lined up for the National Juniors in their build-up to next year’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament.

The tournament, to be held in Kuantan from Nov 12-22, is a qualifier for the 2016 Junior World Cup.
There are now 27 players in the training squad. However, three of them – Meor Mohd Azuan, Mohamed Shahril Saabah and Mohd Haziq Shamsul – are with the senior national team.

Juniors chief coach A. Arulselvaraj said on Sunday most of the Juniors would be available for training and competition from next month until the Junior Asia Cup.

“Only eight of them will be involved in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (which starts on Jan 16) this time. Previously, the majority of the juniors had club commitments.

“The programme will start next month. We will have the players tested by the National Sports Institute (ISN) before going full steam with the preparations,” he said.

Under the programme, the team will also go for two tours – Australia in April and Europe in May – and then participate in the Sultan of Johor Cup in October.

Arulselvaraj said the juniors will also play as a team in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in August.

“We requested for a place in this year’s MHL, but the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) shot it down. But they have agreed to let us play in next year’s edition. It will be a good platform to get the players in shape for the Junior Asia Cup.

“The players need to play as many matches as possible. With this programme, there will be ample practice matches for the players to gain experience,” he added.

The team are now in South Korea for a week-long training camp on the invitation of the Korean Olympic Council (KOC).

On their return, they will play two friendlies with the visiting Poland senior team who are heading to Singapore for the World Hockey League Round Two.

The juniors will also play matches against the visiting Japanese Juniors in February.

“The Korean stint was a last-minute invitation and since all expenses were paid by the KOC we decided to go. The invitation came through the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM),” added Arulselvaraj.

by S. Ramaguru - The Star

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