KUALA LUMPUR (26 NOVEMBER 2013): The Malaysian junior hockey team received a timely encouragement from the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) in their preparation for next month’s Junior World Cup.
FELDA have come on board to sponsor the national team in the tune of RM500,000 for the Junior World Cup which will be held from 6-15 December at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi, India, whilst Kuckreja & Co are sponsoring the team attire.
FELDA Director-General Datuk Faizoull Ahmad presented a mock cheque of RM500,000 to MHC president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah in a handing over ceremony at the Royale Chulan hotel in Kuala Lumpur today. The event was also witnessed by FELDA, MHC top officials and members of the national junior squad.
“FELDA is proud to sponsor the National Junior team. The amount may not be much but it is our social responsibility to see that our national players are well prepared for the Junior World Cup. We are not leaving any stone unturned,” said Datuk Faizoull at a press conference to announce FELDA’s sponsorship.
“It is our hope that the team performs well in the Junior World Cup against some of the greatest teams in the world and the players make the nation proud as well. The Junior World Cup is a prestigious event and FELDA is very supportive of the development of our hockey teams at local and international level,” added Datuk Faizoull.
The MHC also presented cash incentives to the national juniors for their encouraging performance in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Bahru. The Malaysians drew 3-3 against India in the pool match, and then lost 3-0 in the final.
Tengku Abdullah said FELDA’s sponsorship is a timely boost to the squad and commended the government agency initially founded to handle the resettlement of rural poor into newly developed areas but now engages in a diversified range of economic development and business activities.
“On behalf of MHC, I would like to thank FELDA and FGV for their continuous support to the development of hockey in the country. This sponsorship epitomises their commitment, belief and confidence in the National Juniors,” said Tengku Abdullah, adding that MHC has revised the top-four, to a top-six target for the juniors, which is within their reach in the 16-team Junior World Cup.
“We hope more corporate bodies, especially from the private sector, will come forward and support the national teams and also MHC’s commitment in restructuring our development programme in the interest of the game at home.”
National junior coach K. Dharmaraj, and team manager Mirnawan Nawawi have named 18 players for the Junior World Cup which includes skipper Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari, Faiz Helmi Jali, Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Meor Azuan and Rashid Baharom who have the experience of playing at senior level, G. Kavin Kartik and debutant Joel Samuel Van Huizen.
Kavin, 21, is only the second Malaysian to play in two Junior World Cups following the foray by defender M. Devendran who played in the 1985 Vancouver and 1989 Ipoh Junior World Cups.
As for Joel’s inclusion, it is a continuation of the Van Huizen’s family deep tradition of producing hockey players for the nation. Joel’s grandfather, Lawrence, and father, Stephen, had also represented the nation in the World Cup and Olympics.
The Malaysians are drawn in Group D with New Zealand, England and South Africa. They open accounts against New Zealand on Dec 6, then face South Africa on Dec 8 and finally England (Dec 9). Dharmaraj’s boys will need to finish in the top-two to qualify for the quarter-finals stage.
New Zealand finished fourth in the 2009 Junior World Cup in Johor Bahru, while Malaysia ended 12th in the 20-team tournament when they were beaten 3-2 by Belgium in the classification match.
The team will leave for New Delhi on Dec 1 and will play a friendly against Germany on Dec 3 as the final tune-up.
The squad – Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri (goalkeeper), Hafizuddin Othman (goalkeeper), Firhan Ashaari, Fitri Saari (capt), Rashid Baharom, G. Kavin Kartik, Syamim Yusof, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Meor Azuan, Haziq Samsul, Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Azri Hassan, Zulhairi Hashim, Faiz Helmi Jali, Shahril Saabah, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar and Hafiz Zainol.
Released by Shekhinah PR on behalf of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.
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