PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur have set their sights on the girls’ crown while the boys will be aiming for a top-four finish in the National Under-16 Hockey Championships starting at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) president I. Vikneswaran said the current girls’ squad have been preparing well under former international A. Kannagi.
“The girls are a decent side and have been preparing well for the tournament under Kannagi. They have the chance to win,” said Vikneswaran.
“The boys did not reach the semi-finals in 2019 and our target is to see them making the top four this time. It will be a bonus if they finish higher.”
Vikneswaran, who took over from Datuk Seri Megat Shariman Zaharudin as KLHA president in February, said the association had an open selection for the tournament last month and attracted about 40 players.
“We wanted to give everyone a chance to attend the trials. We wanted to send the message that hockey is not exclusive to any specific group or players from project schools.
“It is open to the hockey enthusiasts regardless of class and creed or financial background. The selection trials took place for a week and we were able to identify players from mixed cultures.
“We want to maintain this open culture in all levels of our programmes. Be it age groups or the senior team, we will treat them fairly and select the players on merit.”
KL are in Group A with defending champions Perak, Pahang, Penang, Kelantan and Terengganu in the boys’ category while the city girls are in Group B with Terengganu, Selangor, Melaka, Perak, Sarawak and Sabah.
THE DRAW AND FIXTURES
Group A: Perak, Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kelantan, Terengganu.
Group B: Selangor, Johor, Melaka, Sabah, Negri Sembilan, Perlis, Sarawak.
Group A: Penang, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Kedah, Johor, Perlis, Kelantan.
Group B: Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Melaka, Perak, Sarawak, Sabah.
Group B: Selangor vs Perlis (Pitch 1, 7.30am); Johor vs N Sembilan (Pitch 1, 9.30am); Melaka vs Sabah (Pitch 1, 3pm).
Group A: Penang vs Perlis (Pitch 2, 7.30am); Johor vs N Sembilan (Pitch 2, 9.30am); Pahang vs Kedah (Pitch 2, 3pm).
Group B: Terengganu vs Sarawak (Pitch 1, 5pm); K. Lumpur vs Perak (Pitch 2, 5pm); Selangor vs Melaka (Pitch 2, 7pm).
(All matches at National Hockey Stadium, Pitch 1 and 2)