KUALA LUMPUR: Players who competed in last year’s national Under-16 basketball tournament will get the chance to see action in the junior men’s world championship, which will be held at the MABA Stadium here and at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from July 10-20.
Coach Sim Sin Heng said that the Malaysian Basketball Assocation (MABA) would call up the shortlisted players for trials in March.
“Ideally, we want to have a pool of 21 players for centralised training. Although most of the players would come from the squad who played in the Asian Championships in Kuwait last month, the Under-16 players can also make the team if they impress during the trails,” said Sin Heng.
He added that the current squad would start full-time training in February.
At the Asian meet, Malaysia finished 10th in the 14-team tournament but qualified for the Under-19 World Championship by virtue of being hosts. Tournament winners China, Iran and South Korea, who finished second and third respectively, will also feature in the championships.
The rest of the 16-team cast are Angola, Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Turkey, the United States and Venezuela.
The groupings will be made tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur.
Besides the Under-16 players, Sin Heng said that they would also call up four players who featured in last year’s Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Sabah for training, which emphasises on building strength.
“The main area we have to improve on is the strength of the players. Matches at the world championships will be very intense and we do not want to be pushed around,” said Sin Heng.