# Malaysia are Junior Asia Cup defending champions
# Arul welcomes two key players from injuries but loses another two
# Top three target in the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan
National Juniors head coach A. Arul Selvaraj welcomed two key players who missed last month’s Sultan of Johor Cup but lost another two key players who picked up injuries during the tournament when he named his initial squad of 19 players for the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan.
Arul was forced leave out Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman of Kuala Lumpur and Aminuddin Zain (Kedah) – both of whom played a key role for Malaysia’s third place finish in the six-nation 5th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup.
However, Arul, is not losing any sleep over the absence of two as he welcomed back two of his regulars Mohamed Sufi Ismat Rohulamin (Terengganu) and Rafidzul Ezry (Selangor) – both of whom were kayoed by hamstring injuries for the Sultan of Johor Cup.
Another player named by Arul for the Kuantan trip is Kuala Lumpur’s Ahmad Ashraf Alias.
Arul named 19 players for Asia Cup but will drop another player before he names his final 18 to Kuantan. The Asia Cup will be played at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium from Nov 14-22.
Malaysia are the defending champions. The top three teams in Kuantan will qualify for next year’s Junior World Cup Finals which will be played in New Delhi, India in December.
“I have named 19 players in my initial squad just in case there are injuries. But I will drop one player after we play the national senior team in a friendly (Nov 9),” said Aru, who also hopes to have another friendly with another team before the tournament.
“Our initial target is a top three finish to make the (Junior) World Cup Finals. We have to give a good performance in our first two matches…a good performance will obviously give the team good results.
The teams in the Junior Asia Cup have been divided into two groups with Malaysia in Group A with India, Japan and China while South Korea, Pakistan, Oman and Bangladesh making up Group B.
Malaysia open their campaign against China on Nov 14, followed by India on Nov 15 and complete their group fixtures on Nov 17 when they face Japan. The quarter-finals will be played on Nov 19.
Arul included three seniors for the Sultan of Johor Cup – Shahril Saabah, Haziq Shamsul and Meor Mohamed Azuan – to beef up the team. All three have have been named to the Asia Cup squad.
The Malaysian squad
Coach: A. Arulselvaraj
Assistant coaches: Jivan Mohan, Amin Rahim
Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi (Tganu), Asran Hamsani (Prk), Sufi Ismat Rohulamin (Tganu),
Ridzwan Azmi (Mal), Adi Fazri Rahim (Pgn), Najib Abu Hassan (Prk), Meor Azuan Hassan (Prk), Haziq Samsul (Prk), Firdaus Omar (Mal), Khaliq Hamirin (Sab), Norsyafiq Sumantri )KL), Amirol Aideed Arshad (KL), Shahril Saabah (KL), Zulpidaus Mizun (KL), Syed Syafiq Syed Cholan (Prk), Azwar Rahman (Ked), Rafidzul Ezry (Sgor), Najmi Farizal Jazlan (Perlis), Ahmad Ashraf Alias (KL).