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Hockey: Junior hockey team set for games in UK to prepare for World Cup

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian junior hockey team will leave for the United Kingdom on Sept 26 to play a series of matches to prepare for the Junior World Cup in India from Nov 24-Dec 5.

The squad, comprising 21 players under coach Wallace Tan and manager I. Vikneswaran, will play eight games against clubs and international teams. Three of those matches will be against England, one of the competitors at the Junior World Cup.

Wallace said the matches, especially against England, would be vital to help the players adapt to tactics.

“It’s also the best time to assess the players’ form and performance before the Junior World Cup,” he said.

“We’ve been quarantined for quite a while, and when we returned to training, we worked on the basics and now we’re focusing on tactics.

“We’re slowly building the team towards the big tournament. What’s important is for them to grasp the tactics quickly.”

In the UK, Malaysia will play against Repton (Oct 3), England Under-21 (Oct 5, 6 and 12), Hampstead and Westminster (Oct 7), Wales Under-23 (Oct 9) and Scotland Under-23 (Oct 14 and 15).

Out of the 21 players selected, two – Mohd Syamim Naim Abd Hamid and Krishnanraj Singh – are freshies. The key players are midfielder Pavandip Singh, defenders Syarman Mat Tee and Mohd Arif Syafie Mat Ishak, and strikers Mohd Akhimullah Annuar Esook and Mohd Noor Firdaus Rosdi.

Incidentally, the Malaysian senior squad are also in the UK now for a playing tour. Goalkeepers: Che Sharul Azmi Che Saupi, Mohd Hamiz Mohd Ahir Defenders: Mohd Arif Syafie Mat Ishak, Syarman Mat Tee, Mohd Saifuddin Azli, Mohd Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin, Mohd Amirul Amizan Azahar, Mohd Fahmi Khalid, Mohd Faris Harizan Midfielders: Mohd Syawal Abd Razak, Mohd Hafizi Zainuddin, Alfarico Lance Liau Jr, Pavandip Singh, Krishnanraj Singh Forwards: Mohd Noor Firdaus Rosdi, Mohd Akhimullah Annuar Esook, Mohd Amirul Haniff Mamat, Mohd Muhibuddin Moharram, Muhajir Abdu Rauf, Mohd Abid Suffian Mat Ruslee

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