PETALING JAYA: Johor said the time is not right to unleash their youngsters for the Razak Cup as the top priority is their development.
And with that in mind, it did not come as a surprise that they skipped the tournament from Nov 10-20 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil to concentrate on the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) from Nov 26-Jan 2.
Johor Hockey Association secretary Shahabuddin Royani revealed that the team, comprising mostly secondary school players, will be part of the SMKDBL-PHJ-MSNJ squad in the junior league.
He said the decision was made as they needed a longer preparation for a high-level tournament like the Razak Cup.
Shahabuddin felt that, for now, they will concentrate on the junior league.
“We’ve planned a five-year programme with the aim of producing a formidable team. In the current national junior team, we have four Johor boys and we want to continue that proud tradition.”
Meanwhile, former Johor and Malaysia player Lailin Abu Hassan, is disappointed that Johor are not taking part.
“Johor have produced a lot of talents in the past and they are usually showcased in the Razak Cup. I guess the MJHL is another platform where they can flourish,” said Lailin, who is the national women team’s assistant coach.
In 2019, Johor finished runners-up in the Razak Cup when they lost 1-3 to Melaka. Perak won the title last year.
For this year’s edition, the men’s teams are Armed Forces, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Police, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Selangor and Terengganu. The women’s teams consist of Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Police, Penang, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.