Hardworking Baljit picked for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament

KUALA LUMPUR: Baljit Singh Charun (pic) will get to play in his hometown after all.

The 27-year-old hardworking defender, who had to have nine stitches to his upper lips after being hit during a friendly against New Zealand on Monday, has been named for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which begins in Ipoh on Saturday.

Midfielder Norhizzat Sumantri, who featured in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last year, has also been included in the final squad of 18 for the tournament.

National coach Paul Revington named 16 players for the tournament last Thursday, leaving four players to fight it out for the remaining two spots.

Veteran defender Mohd Amin Rahim and young forward Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi were dropped after failing to impress in the two friendlies against New Zealand in Malacca.

Malaysia lost the first friendly 3-2 on Monday but bounced back to win the second by the same scoreline the next day.

National assistant coach S. Arulselvaraj said that although Baljit played in only one friendly, “he did enough to prove that he deserves a place in the tournament”.

“Baljit is a hardworking player and always gives his best in tournaments. We’ve also named Norhizzat as he too played well in the two friendlies,” said Arul.

The 22-year-old Norhizzat from Klang also played in the tournament last year and has 10 caps to his credit.

Baljit, who got married last month, was happy to be named for the tournament.

“I will not allow my injury to affect my performance,” vowed Baljit.

Malaysia will open their campaign against South Korea on Saturday. Their other matches are against New Zealand (on Sunday), Australia (Tuesday), Pakistan (March 14) and India (March 16).

The final and classification matches are on March 17.

Malaysia's squad

S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin, Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, Azlan Misron, Baljit Singh Charun, Jivan Mohan, Faizal Saari, Faiz Helmi Jali, Chua Boon Huat, Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah (capt), Mohd Azammi Adabi, Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Abdul Jalil, Norhizzat Sumantri.

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