PETALING JAYA: Terengganu will rely on four national players to help them defend their title in the Razak Cup hockey championship, which will start in Ipoh tomorrow.
The Saari brothers – Fitri and Faizal – as well as Mohd Hafizuddin Othman and Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi are the mainstays of the team this year.
Another national player, Mohd Firhan Azhaari, is recovering from a leg injury and will undergo a last-minute fitness test before a decision is made on his availability.
The other players, according to coach Sarjit Singh, are from the Terengganu Sukma team.
“We will rely heavily on the younger players, just like last year. Last year, we had 13 players from the Sukma team and most of them have retained their places in the squad.
“So we’re hoping to do well again. The national players we have in the team will guide the youngsters. The tournament is also a good grooming ground for future stars and the Terengganu team for the Sukma next year,” he said.
Terengganu head Group A in Division One with Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. They will meet Penang in their opening match at the Azlan Shah Stadium tomorrow.
Group B comprises Police, Perak, Johor and Negri Sembilan.
Sarjit expects this year’s title race to be an open affair as “quite a number of the teams will be parading younger players”.
“Seven-time champions and hosts Perak, last year’s runners-up Police and KL are still the teams to be watch out for. If my players can rise to the occasion, then we can do well,” said Sarjit.
“We’ve only had all the players in training since Monday. So, I will be happy if they can improve with each match.”
Division Two will feature nine teams, including three foreign sides.
The state teams are Kedah, Selangor, Perlis, Kelantan, Armed Forces and Pahang while the foreign entries are Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.
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