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36 players shortlisted for Sultan Johor Cup next month - Walsh

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirty-six players have been shortlisted for National training to prepare for the Sultan of Johor Cup hockey competition next month although only 18 will be selected.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Technical Director Terry Walsh said the squad which is also known as the 2020 Development squad would undergo their fourth phases of training to play in the Under-21 International invitation tournament to be held at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru from Oct 22-29.

"With the ability and credibility of coaches Nor Saiful Zaini and Wallace Tan, plus their hard work in preparing the team, the squad will undergo another week of centralised training a week before the tournament proper in Johor.

Asked if the MHC had set any specific target for the squad, Walsh said the governing body would use the current senior squad's ranking which is 12th in the world, as a benchmark to see the desired positive result.

The Australian who had coached the National senior squad from 1990-1993, however, said winning the title would not be an easy task since the squad has not been tested at because the main focus is to prepare the squad for the Junior World Cup in 2020.

"We have picked players whose ages range from 17 to 21, so as to allow the younger players to learn from the older players, especially to establish leadership qualities on the field because picking players of the same age and grooming them to become leaders on the field has not been successful," said Walsh.

In the Sultan of Johor Cup which offers RM1.8 million as total prize money, six teams have confirmed their participation, namely defending champion Australia, India, England, Japan, United States and Malaysia as the host.

Malaysia clinched the inaugural tournament 2011.

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