D-DAY FOR JUNIORS Featured

Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:34
It will be D- day for eight players vying for three players in the final 18 to represent Malaysia in the Junior World Cup to be held in New Delhi from the 6th to 15th December.
 
After three years of preparation, the players are well aware of the expectations of the coaches and the fact that the decision of which 18 actually board the plane to Delhi comes barely two weeks to the start of the tournament actually augurs well for hockey in the country.
 
“We are still deliberating on who the three players will be and will hold a final discussion tonight,” said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
 
“All the players have shown tremendous determination and this has made the selection a difficult one.
 
“We will inform the players on Thursday morning and only after that will the names be released. One thing is certain, the selection is done on the requirements of the team as well as their performance over a period and not just over the last few days.”
 
Though the press conference to name the final 18 will happen today (Thursday), in actual fact 15 players had already done enough to convince the panel of coaches that they deserve to be penned in since the 3rd Sultan of Johor Cup in September.
 
After the tournament, where Malaysia finished runners up, losing 3-0 to India in the final, it was a case of picking the final three players and it was a decision that the coaches had to make from a pool of eight players.
 
The eight who were given plenty of playing time on the tour to India last month and the four friendly matches against Egypt earlier this month are - Shazrul Imran Nazli, Mohd Aslam Mohd Hanafiah, Dangerous Lee, Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Mohd Aminuddin Mat Zain, Faridzul Afiq, Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman, Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Gaffar, Mohd Hafiz Zainol and Sobirin Ilias.
  
 
The close battle for the final three spots are actually narrowed down to just six players – Aslam, Joel, Nor Aqmal, Hafiz, Aminuddin and Azwar.
 
Azwa and Hafiz both played in the SOJC but both are forwards, thus only one might get the nod between them. As for Joel, he has to stave off the challenge of Aslam who can double up as a midfielder and defender.
 
And for the final spot, with the team already having three penalty corner aces in the likes of Zulhairi Hashim, Mohd Shahril Saabah and Kavin Karthik, it will be tough for Nor Aqmal thus giving Aminuddin an edge.
 
Putting aside the selection, Kavin Karthik will be playing in his second Junior World Cup, having featured in the 2009 edition, thus joining M. Davendran, the only Malaysian player to have done so in 1985 in Vancouver and 1989 in Ipoh.
 
Those who are assured of a place
 
Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Rashid Baharom, G. Kavin Kartik, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Meor Mohamed Azuan, Mohd Haziq Samsul, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Mohd Zulhairi Hashim, Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof, Mohd Azri Hassan, Mohd Shahril Saabah.
 
The eight who are fighting for three available places
 
Shazrul Imran Nazli, Mohd Aslam Mohd Hanafiah, Dangerous Lee, Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Mohd Aminuddin Mat Zain, Faridzul Afiq, Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman, Mohd Nor Aqmal Abdul Gaffar, Mohd Hafiz Zainol and Sobirin Ilias.
Last modified on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:39
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