KUALA LUMPUR: The fourth edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup, schedule to be held at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium from Oct 12-19, has been given a whopping RM1.7mil sponsorship boost.
The sponsorship pledges were handed over to the Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim in the presence of Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the official launch for the Under-21 tournament yesterday.
Johor Hockey Association deputy president Manjit Majid Abdullah said that many teams were now eager to take part in the tournament.
“But we had to limit the entry to only six teams as we want the tournament to be played at the highest standard possible,” said Manjit.
India will be back to defend their title, alongside Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Malaysia and debutants Britain.
The National Juniors will be going for a seven-match playing tour of Northern Ireland in preparation for the Sultan of Johor Cup.
National Juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said that the matches in Belfast, scheduled from Sept 14-27, will be the platform for the 20 players to prove themselves and earn places for tournament in Johor.
“We don’t have enough time to prepare the squad for the tournament in Johor because the boys were busy with the Division One of the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) early this year and the Razak Cup in Kuantan, which ended on Sunday.
“So the seven matches in Belfast will be vital for the coaches (Mohd Amin Rahim and Jivan Mohan) to gauge the players’ strength and weaknesses,” said Mirnawan.
The final squad of 18 players will be named on Sept 27.
Mirnawan, however, had made it clear that they have not set the team any targets for the Sultan of Johor Cup.
Malaysia won the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup in 2011 and finished last in 2012. Last year, they finished runners-up.
The Sultan of Johor Cup is part of the team’s preparation for next year’s Junior Asia Cup, which is the qualifying tournament for 2016 Junior World Cup in New Delhi.