07 Nov 2012

Returning trio not sure bets for Project 2013 berths




KUALA LUMPUR: The three players returning to the Project 2013 squad after a year may have to wait a little longer before seeing action with the team.

Dangerous Lee (pic), Harmesh Singh and Mohamed Nor Aqmal Abdul Ghaffar have been included in the squad, which started training last week for the Sultan of Johor Cup.


Dangerous, who made his name with the Bukit Jalil Sports School team, is a forward while the other two are defenders.

Dangerous and Harmesh walked out last year after concluding that they would not find a place in the final squad. They were recalled, along with Nor Aqmal, after the recent Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

But places are limited with the possible return of several senior players, so the trio will need to really prove their worth to earn a place in the final 18.

All three are talented players and have impressed in the domestic scene over the last two years. But their decision to stay away from the Project squad for over a year means they will have to impress the selectors all over again.

Coach K. Dharmaraj said the players will not be able to walk into the team.

“To be frank, there are other players who have shown greater commitment and trained harder over the past year.

“We will give the trio a chance but I’m looking at them more for the long term with the Junior World Cup next year in mind.

“I’m not so sure that they are ready for the Sultan of Johor Cup. They have joined the training and are keen to challenge for a place. That’s encouraging but there’s a lot more work to do before I see them as members of the final team,” said Dharmaraj.

The Project squad are in the final phase of preparation for the Sultan of Johor Cup which starts in Johor Baru on Sunday.

There are nine Under-21 players training with the senior squad and the Project team will only know on Wednesday how many of them will be available for the Johor tournament.

Dharmaraj said he had no choice but to wait for these players before naming his final 18.

“We have also lined up two friendlies to test the team, especially the fringe players. I’m not too concerned about the players from the senior squad as they should fit in easily as they have been with us previously.

“I want to use the matches with Germany and New Zealand to give them as much playing time as possible to ensure we make the right selection,” he added.

The Sultan of Johor Cup is a six-nation affair. The teams in the fray are defending champions Malaysia, Germany, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.

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