U-16 Asia Cup changed to five-a-side format

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) have revived their Under-16 Asia Cup but it will now become a Hockey Five (five-a-side) event and act as the qualifier for the Youth Olympics.

The last time the tournament was held was in 2000 in Singapore with India as the winners. But then it was the normal 11-a-side game.

This year, the meet will again be held in Singapore as well but under the new five-a-side format.

This is the first time such a format is being introduced in Asia, and it will serve as the qualifier for the 2014 Youth Olympics which will be held in Nanking, China.

AHF competitions secretary D. Mathavan said yesterday that the tournament is sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) which oversees the Youth Olympic qualifiers.

He said a total of 10 teams will play in the Singapore tournament which will be held from April 4-7. It will also see the girls’ event being held simultaneously with 10 teams as well.

For the men, the teams in Group A are Pakistan, Japan, China, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Teams in Group B include South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan. India did not enter a team for the event.

Mathavan said the Under-16 Asia Cup will remain a one-in-four-years affair with its timing just prior to the Youth Olympics.

“All 10 teams have confirmed their participation in the event and we expect it to go on as planned. Teams can submit their team lists at the team managers meeting on April 3.

“Each team will play two games a day,” he added.

Meanwhile, SSTMI-Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohamed Roslan has been appointed to coach the national team to the tournament in Singapore.

The Malaysians have yet to name their team and it is not known whether they have been training at all under the new format.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary-general Johari Abdul Aziz said that he was informed by the coaching committee that Wan Mohamed will be the coach.

“I do not have any other information on the matter. But we will be taking part in Singapore,” he said.

Malaysia will play Kazakhstan at 12 noon on the opening day and also meet Bangladesh at 8.00pm the same night. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals and the final will be held on April 7.

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