The eight Sultan of Johor Cup will see the participation of six teams in the tournament to be held at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru. The tournament has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2011 and is the only Under 21 Invitational Tournament in the world.
The teams participating are defending champions Great Britain, Australia, India. New Zealand, Japan and hosts Malaysia.
Since the first edition held in 2011, five teams have emerged victorious. India and Australia both are the two successful team having won the tournament twice, followed by Germany, Great Britain and Malaysia who have all won the tournament once.
At a sponsorship ceremony, a total of RM2,150 million was raised as a result of contributions from generous sponsors.
“We are thankful that sponsors have generously stepped forward to help in defeating the organisational cost of this tournament,” said Organising Secretary Dato Manjit Majid Abdullah who is also the Deputy President of Johor Hockey Association and the Vice President of Malaysian Hockey Confederation,
“There was a lot of requests from other countries to participate in this years’ tournament but as has been our practice we can only accommodate six teams.
“We are grateful to those teams and will look into trying to Arvinder’s them next year, but it will be subject to them being vetted and invited.
“ It is indeed an honour for the tournament to be a much sought after event for other countries to seek an invite and this augurs well for the State of Johor.
“ The Johor Hockey Association are thankful to the various state agencies, the sponsors, participating countries as well as the officials and volunteers involved in this tournament.”
Those who presented their contributions for the SOJC are ; Johor State Government (RM500,000), RITZ Corporation Holding Berhad (RM500,000) , Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd (RM200,000) , WM Era (RM200,000), Johor Corporation (RM100,000), JBB Builders (M) Sdn Bhd (RM100,000), UM Land (RM100,000), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (RM100,000), SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd (RM50,000), KH Land Sdn Bhd (RM50,000), The Zon (RM50,000), Iskandar Waterfront Holding Berhad (RM50,000), Genting Berhad (RM50,000), Berjaya Times Square (RM30,000). Sports Depot will provide apparel for match officials as well as special awards for Man of the Match for all 18 matches.
In addition to hosting the tournament, the Johor Hockey Association will also be conducting a Sports Administrators Seminar on the 12th and 13th October.
Amongst the notable speakers who will present papers are the seminar are Dato Windsor Paul ( AFC Secretary General, Dato G. Vijaynathan ( former Hon Secretary Malaysian Hockey Federation), Dato Sieh Kok Chi ( former Secretary General Olympic Council of Malaysia), K. Maheswari ( Group Chief Regulatory & Compliance Officer , Kenanga Invest Bank Berhad) and Kevin Ramalingam ( CEO Malaysian Football League).
“We will invite participants from the various state Hockey bodies as well as the Johor District Hockey Associations,” added Dato Manjit.
Meanwhile the Malaysian Team has set a top 4 target for themselves in the tournament.
Coached by former international Nor Saiful Zaini Nazifuddin, the team will start their final phase of training on September 25 and move to train at Taman Daya on October 1.
“We have currently 20 players in training and we have held one week training camps for a total of six times since June this year,” said Saiful.
“I expect India, Australia and Great Britain to be the frfront-runnersor the title but we intend to make it tough for them.”
The team can count in the likes of Mohd Hafizuddin Emran, Zaini Mat Derus, Lokman Nor Hakim, Shello Selverius ,Mohd Shafik Hassan, Mohd Azrai Aizad Ahmad Kamal , Mohd Nor Shahmi and Mohd Izham Azhar – all of whom played in the tournament last year.
However the team will miss the services of a couple of players who will be playing in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires which will be held from 6-18 October , 2018.
“We have to make do without six players but I feel we have capable replacements,” added Saiful.
“The team will play two friendly matches before the tournament gets underway. We take on Australia on October 2 and Great Britain on October 3 “
Malaysia won the inaugural tournament in 2011 and since then their best showing has been a runner up position in 2013 and third in 2015.
Entry to all matches is free and the matches will also be televised live by RTM as well as on YouTube and Facebook.