Project 2013 squad come under scrutiny

KUALA LUMPUR: The Project 2013 hockey squad will come under review when the next training phase starts next week.

The squad have just completed two assignments and will be gearing up for a tour to Europe next.

The 27 players in training will come under scrutiny and there are indications that some will be dropped from the squad for the Europe tour.

The core players from squad took part in the four-nations meet which ended in Moscow on Sunday.

Eight other layers of the squad were involved in the team who finished second in the Under-18 Asia Cup which also ended on Sunday in Singapore.

The team for Moscow, which included two senior players Azlan Misron and Mohamed Shahrun Nabil, lost 2-7 to Azerbaijan and 3-7 to Russia. They had defeated Ukraine 3-2 in the preliminary round but in the playoff for third place, they lost to 0-3 to Ukraine in a penalty shootout after the match ended 2-2 after extra time.

In Singapore, Malaysia went through the preliminary round unbeaten and then defeated Singapore 2-1 in the semi-finals. In the final they lost 1-3 to South Korea.

Under-18 team coach K. Gobinathan, who is also assistant coach for the Project squad, said the eight players from the Project squad played reasonably well but was still not at their best.

He pointed out that three players from the eight – Mohamed Fitri Saari, Shahrul Imran and Hairul Nizam – stood out from the rest in Singapore.

“Overall there were some good play but we are lacking in several areas, most of all in terms of exposure. Our finishing was poor and we lacked flickers in the penalty corner department. There is still a lot work to be done with their basics but this can only come when they start playing more high quality matches,” saidGobinathan.

Gobinathan was also impressed with two players in the Under-18 team – Mohamed Hasfiq and Asrul Hasbullah – and he will recommend them to be included in the Project training squad.

“These two can be considered for the Project team. I will put forward their names to the chief coach for consideration. In the Project team we have this policy where we review the performances of the players every three months and then make changes to the squad,” he said.

The Project team will go to Europe on July 6. They will play matches in Germany, Holland and England. A total of 20 players are expected to make the trip. The team will return on July 20.

There will be four matches in Germany, two in Holland and another four in England during the tour,

The Project team are preparing for the 2013 Junior World Cup but their more immediate target is the Junior Asia Cup next year which is the qualifier for the Junior World Cup.

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