Johor set lofty semis target in U-21 tournament

JOHOR BARU: Johor have set their sights on reaching at least the semi-finals in the national Under-21 hockey tournament, which begins at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday. 

But coach Paramjit Singh concedes that they have a tough task in Group A, which has defending champions Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Malacca, Kelantan and Singapore. 

Group B comprise debutants New South Wales Institute of Sports, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perlis and Selangor. 

The Johor team are built around national Under-19 players Mohd Nor Affazly Abdul Ghafar, Baljit Singh, S. Yogeswaran and Fitri Bassar. The trio was in the team who finished as the runners-up to India in the recent Under-19 invitational tournament. 

They also have two players who featured for the Project side (national Under 16) in the tournament. The duo are defender Zaidi Zainuddin and forward Mohd Radzi Abdul Rahim. 

“We are in a very tough group but we aim to at least get among the semi-finalists,” said Paramjit. 

The Johor squad have been in training at the Johor Baru City Council Hockey Stadium here since last Monday. They open their campaign against the formidable KL. 

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