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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

It's about saving some pride.

Usually it's the younger ones following the foot steps of senior players, who are expected to set an example.

Leave aside habits and other wrong doings, this is purely on achievement.

When the National Under-21 hockey team take the field against Iran at the Junior Asia Cup (JAC) for their opening match tomorrow, it will be about salvaging some pride for Malaysia.

The senior team has failed to qualify for Olympics and have been in the papers for all the wrong reasons. While they are now, rather insignificantly, preparing for the Sultan of Azlan Shah Cup, ALL attention and support must be given to K. Dharmaraj's boys.

The team, largely comprising the same Project 2013 boys who lifted the Sultan of Johor Cup last year, are "made of steel"

No one, not even their coach, expected to win in Johor last November. Even more after their opening matches against Australia and New Zealand didn't go their way. Yet, they showed class and grit to win the inaugural championship.

Since then they have been hyped, rather deserving, to qualify for the Junior World Cup in India next year.

News that four teams from Asia will qualify for the world event can only be good news as now all Malaysia has to do is qualify for the knock-out stages at the JAC.

But Dharmaraj insist it is not just about that. He wants his charges to go on to win the tournament, etching themselves in the history books. Malaysia's best performance was a second place finish to Pakistan in 1991.

Read the Junior Asia Cup preview in today's Mailsport.  

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