Baljit gets the nod

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national junior Baljit Singh Sarjab will take on the responsibility to deliver goals for Malaysia from penalty corners in the Samsung Champions Trophy tournament, which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Nov 29-Dec 9. 

Coach Sarjit Singh said the Johor defender had made steady progress in training and would take over from drag flicker Zulkifli Rejab, who is down with a leg injury. 

“Baljit has improved on the power in his flicks and he will be the first choice penalty corner taker for us in the Champions Trophy,” he said. 

Baljit was the top scorer in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last year with 23 goals. He featured in the Asia Cup in Chennai in August and scored three penalty corner goals. 

Heavy duty: Baljit Singh Sarjab’s finishing skills will be tested inthe coming Champions Trophy tournament.

“I hope Baljit will not let us down in the Champions Trophy. He will be given the chance to take penalty corners in three friendly matches (against China on Friday and Saturday and against Canada on Sunday),” said Sarjit. 

He added that besides Baljit, the team had another reliable hand for penalty corners in midfielder Jiwa Mohan. 

The 26-year-old Jiwa, who is the second most senior player in the team after forward Chua Boon Huat, felt that Baljit was the better bet to execute the flick. 

“He has a bright future and should be given opportunities to take the penalty corners as he has strong and powerful flicks,” said Jiwa, who was the top scorer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for Sapura with 23 goals this season. 

Jiwa, who has 215 international caps to his credit, added that Boon Huat was also good at penalty corner variations. 

In the Champions Trophy, Malaysia will be up against Olympic champions Australia, world champions Germany, Holland, Spain, Pakistan, South Korea and Britain. The meet is part of Malaysia's preparations for the Olympic qualifiers in Japan next year. 

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