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Wednesday January 9, 2013

Forward Firhan to lead Project 2017 squad at the AYOF

KUALA LUMPUR: National forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari will lead the Project 2017 squad to the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney from Jan 16-20.

The other teams competing in the Under-21 tournament are Britain, United States and hosts Australia.

Firhan, who featured in the Olympic qualifier in Dublin last March, is also a member of the Project 2013 squad.

Project 2017 coach Lim Chiow Chuan has also included three other players from the Project 2013 team to beef up the squad. They are goalkeeper Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie, defender Mohd Zulhairi Hashim and midfielder Shazril Irwan Nazli.

Chiow Chuan said he would not set any targets for the tournament as “we will be fielding a young team with an average age of 16”.

“We’re competing in the tournament to expose the Project 2017 squad as they lack tournaments. The AYOF will also be part of our preparation for the invitational Under-16 four-nation tournament in Manheim, Germany, in May.

“It’ll be tough for my boys to beat the other three teams, who are parading their Under-21 squads,” said former international Chiow Chuan.

The Project 2017 team will play three friendlies against the Project 2013 squad before they leave for Sydney on Sunday.

Chiow Chuan hoped that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) would allow them to play in the Razak Cup in September.

“We badly need to play matches as they boys cannot continue training without playing in tournaments.

“I hope MHC will allow us to feature in Division One of the Razak Cup as they need quality matches to keep improving their game,” said Chiow Chuan.

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