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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 -- As expected, two senior players, midfield pillar Nuraini Abdul Rashid and striker Hanis Nadiah Onn, made it to the 20-player list for the 2022 Women's Asian Cup Hockey Championship in Muscat, Oman from Jan 21-28.
According to the list announced by National Women's Special Project Squad head coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim today, the squad on average is lined up with players aged 23 and under.
Mohd Nasihin explained that the coaching staff had selected the players based on an assessment of the efforts and enthusiasm shown during the training session since last week and two friendly matches against the Petaling Jaya City Council's (MBPJ) men's team recently.
"The selection of players was based on several criteria the most important being the level of technical quality and skills. This is very important to make it easier for them to adapt to the team's tactics as well as the fast tempo of the games, especially at a high level.
“The team's tactical understanding as well as having decision-making skills on the field are also taken into account. We also evaluated and observed the level of effort shown by them, apart from having the spirit to put up a fight during matches," he said in a statement.
Aware that 12 of the Malaysian Tigress will be making their debut on the international stage and face teams playing in the Olympics and World Cup at this tournament, Mohd Nasihin did not want to set big targets.
“Realistically, with the current situation and the constraints we face, we are aware of where the team level is with only five senior players brought in to help strengthen the squad as well as guide the young players, as compared to other Asian giants.
"We had to take bold action to participate in this tournament and hope it will be a good exposure for them, besides helping to form a strong team and have the quality to compete internationally in the future," he added.
At the tournament, which is also a qualifier for the 2022 Women's World Cup, Malaysia are drawn in Group A along with defending champions India, Japan and Singapore, while Group B features runners-up China, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia.
Malaysia will open the campaign against India on Jan 22, followed by Singapore the next day and Japan on Jan 24. Only the top two teams of each group will advance to the semi-finals.
List of players:
Goalkeepers: Siti Rozailah Jilon, Siti Zalia Nasir.
Defenders: Juliani Mohamad Din, Raja Norsharina Raja Shabuddin, Nurul Faezah Shafiqah Khalim, Iren Hussin, Dayang Nuramirah Abang Mahadini, Nurul Fatin Fatiah Azman.
Midfielders: Nuraini Abdul Rashid, Fatin Shafika Mahd Sukri, Nur Syuhada Suhaimi, Nor Asfarina Isahyifiqa Isahhidun, Nur Insyirah Effarizal.
Strikers: Nuramirah Shakirah Zulkifli, Nurmaizatul Hanim Syafi Shiek Fuad, Siti Zulaikha Husain, Siti Nur Arfah Mohd Nor, Nur Atira Mohamad Ismail, Nur Afiqah Syahzani Azhar, Hanis Nadiah Onn.
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