KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Negri Sembilan are the second team after Sabah to withdraw from the Tun Razak Cup hockey tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Nov 27-Dec 5.
Negri, who were the champions in 1975, withdrew because they were unable to raise a team for the tournament. Two weeks ago, Sabah pulled out for the same reason.
Coach Soffian Abdullah said that their trials at the Seremban II Stadium drew a very poor response.
“Only seven players showed up for the first trial on Nov 1. The players requested for another trial after the Deepavali and Hari Raya festivities.
“I agreed and held it on Wednesday but to my disappointment, only three players showed up.”
Soffian, who guided Negri to finish fifth place in last year's tournament, said that the trio who came for the trial were goalkeeper Shawn Suresh Dass, midfielder Benedict Anthony and forward S. Saravanan.
He added that seven of the juniors could not attend training because they were sitting for either the SPM or STPM examinations.
“Some of the seniors took leave for the festive season. They had to return to work because they were unable to extend their leave to attend training,” said Soffian.
The Negri HA secretary, Anthony Dass, said that he informed the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) acting secretary, T. Paramalingam, about their decision to withdraw yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, Paramalingam said that the competitions committee would decide on whether to take action against Negri for withdrawing from the tournament after the closing date of entries.
Under competition rules, a team who did so could either be fined RM500 or be suspended from the tournament.
Negri and Sabah were drawn in Group B with the National Juniors, Selangor, Malacca and Singapore.
Paramalingam said that with their withdrawal, Pahang – who were drawn in Group A with defending champions Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Armed Forces, Johor and Penang – will now play in Group B.
“Both groups now have five teams each and we will make some changes to the fixtures,” he said.