KUALA LUMPUR: The Junior World Cup hockey team has been finalised and there are no surprises in the selection.
The final three players to be named to the national juniors squad of 18 are Mohamed Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar, Mohamed Hafiz Zainol and Joel van Huizen.
The Junior World Cup will be held in New Delhi, India, from Dec 6-15.
All the players except for Joel played in the Sultan of Johor Cup in September. Mohamed Azwar Abdul Rahman, who was in the team then has been dropped in favour of Joel.
Team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said that they have picked the best possible team and the players have been well prepared for the challenge.
“We are confident that the players selected will adapt well to the challenges in New Delhi.
“Overall all the players selected have had enough time to forge a good understanding and have been given ample chances to cement their place in the team,” he said.
Joel, who was only recalled to the Project 2013 squad in May after leaving the team last year to concentrate on his studies, will be carrying on his family tradition.
He is the son of former national skipper Stephen van Huizen. His grandfather Lawrence was also a former national player and coach who will be inducted into the OCM Hall of Fame on Thursday night.
Project 2013 had earlier this week finalised 15 players and left three places vacant with 11 players in the fray.
The players who were vying for the three places were Joel, Nor Aqmal, Hafiz, Azwar, Shazrul Imran Nazli, Mohd Aslam Mohd Hanafiah, Dangerous Lee, Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman, Mohd Aminuddin Mat Zain, Faridzul Afiq and Sobirin Ilias.
Sixteen teams will feature in the Junior World Cup and Malaysia will open their Group D campaign against New Zealand on Dec 6. Malaysia’s other matches are against South Africa on Dec 7 and England on Dec 9. The final is slated for Dec 15.
The Malaysians will leave for India on Dec 1 and have lined up two friendlies - against Germany on Dec 3 and France on Dec 4.
Players: Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Rashid Baharom, G. Kavin Kartik, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Meor Mohamed Azuan, Mohd Haziq Samsul, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Mohd Zulhairi Hashim, Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof, Mohd Azri Hassan, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohamed Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar, Joel van Huizen, Mohamed Hafiz Zainol
Team manager: Mirnawan Nawawi
Chief coach: K. Dharmaraj
Assistants: Nor Azlan Bakar, K. Gobinathan
by S. Ramaguru - The Star