Kuala Lumpur (17 March, 2016): The search for ‘Malaysia Futures’ begins tomorrow (Saturday) in the 1Mas-MSN-KPM-Milo National Under-16 Tournament held simultaneously at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium and Ministry of Education Turf.
The nine-day event from March 18-26 will feature 14 states participating in the boys division and 13 states, except for Perlis, competing in the girl’s category. All matches involving the girls will be played in the morning.
Terengganu, the boys Under-16 defending champions, are drawn in Group A with Penang, Johor, Kedah and Terengganu whilst Group B consists of Selangor, who lost to Terengganu in the 2016 final, Malacca, Perlis, Perak and Sarawak.
Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Sabah and Kelantan are in Group C.
In the women’s competition, defending champions Selangor have for company in Group A Kedah, Sabah, Kelantan and Sarawak. Group B comprises Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Penang whilst Perak, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Johor are in Group C.
The top two teams at the end of the preliminary round in the boys and girls categories will advance to Round 2 where the teams are divided into two groups of three teams each. The top ranked teams will move into the March 26 final.
Sabah HA secretary, Aftar Singh, is counting on his east Malaysian state boys’ team to create some form of ripples here as he believes Sabah has the pedigree to give ‘title pretenders’ a strong opposition.
“The boys have been in training for some time and the positive side of it is 10 players have been retained from last year’s National Under-14 squad. So in terms of experience they are in a very familiar territory,” said Aftar.
The 10 players retained are Muhammad Salman Sudirman, Selham Milsan, Hafizulhakim Abdul Salim, Granson Noel Gorden who played for the National Under-16 team in the Mannerheim Invitation in Germany last year, Muhammad Helmi Barkary, Muhammad Hasdar Haruna, Nasrul Syahkir Sadikul, Ahmad Amza Masri and Azril Peter.
“As for the girls, they did not participate last year and we have decided to give them a second chance to prove themselves after a poor outing the previous year. We hope to see some improvement,” he added.
Boys Group A: Terengganu, Penang, Johor, Kedah and Terengganu
Group B: Selangor, Malacca, Perlis, Perak and Sarawak.
Group C: Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Sabah and Kelantan
Women Group A: Selangor, Kedah, Sabah, Kelantan and Sarawak.
Group B: Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Penang
Group C: Perak, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Johor