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Saturday November 10, 2012
By S. RAMAGURU
JOHOR BARU: Malaysia have retained almost the entire team from last year for their defence of the Sultan of Johor Cup starting at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here tomorrow.
The squad named yesterday for the Under-21 tournament include 16 from last year, 15 of whom were also members of the team who won the Junior Asia Cup in May.
Coach K. Dharmaraj feels that the strong line-up will be a match for powerhouse Germany and last year’s losing finalists Australia.
“We are lucky that the nine players who had been training with the senior team have been released to us. Only Faisal Saari, Faiz Helmy and Fitri Saari, who were among the mainstays the last 12 months, are missing.
“Faisal played in the Junior Asia Cup while Fitri and Faiz featured in both the tournaments we won. This is a very experienced team and we will go all out to defend the title.”
The nine players from the senior team are Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Mohammad Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof, Mohd Azri Hassan, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Ramadan Rosli, Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Norhizzat Sumantri and Shazril Irwan Nazli.
Mohamed Noor Faeez, who successfully skippered the team in the two tournaments, will again lead the side.
Dharmaraj said the choice of the 18th player had been a toss-up between Mohamed Zulhairi Hashim and Dangerous Lee.
Dangerous had initially not been in the equation although he had been working very hard in training.
Zulhairi was favoured because he is a top penalty corner flicker. But with Noor Faeez back in the team, there was no urgency for another flicker and Dangerous was back in contention.
“We had to decide whether to expose Dangerous or pick Zulhairi, who may not get much playing time. In the end, we opted for Zulhairi as he is still eligible for the Junior World Cup next year,” said Dharmaraj.
“I’m confident that this team can do well. There will be pressure on them as the defending champions but this is only to be expected. We are ready to face the Germans in our opening match on Sunday.”
Malaysia were supposed to play a friendly with Germany today but the junior world champions called it off as the teams will be meeting in the opening tie.
The National Squad
Shahrul Azaddinn Auskarzie, Mohamed Hafizuddin Othman, Mohamed Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Mohammed Noor Faezn Ibrahim, G. Kavin Kartik, Shahrul Imran Nazli, Mohamed Syamim
Mohd Yusof, Deddy Aryadi Jumaidi, Mohamed Azri Hassan, Mohamed Ramadan Rosli, Nor Hizzat Sumantri, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Amir Farid AhmadFuzi, Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Mohamad Rashid Baharom, Mohammed Aslam Hanafiah, Mohd Zulhairi Hashim.
Pakistan vs New Zealand (4.05pm),
Australia vs India (6.05pm),
Malaysia vs Germany (8.05pm)
Australia vs Pakistan (4.05pm),
Germany vs India (6.05pm),
New Zealand vs Malaysia (8.05pm)
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