The Malaysian city of Johor Bahru will stage the third edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium from September 19-29.
The nine-day tournament is being jointly organised by the Johor Hockey Association, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and the Johor State Government.
According to sources close to the organizers, India, Pakistan and England besides hosts Malaysia are confirmed their participation in what will be a six-team event.
It is learnt that South Africa had evinced interest in participating in the 3rd Sultan of Johor Cup, but pulled out citing funding constraints. Korea and Argentina are expected to complete the six-team field.
The organizers have earlier extended invitations to teams like Australia and Belguim, but it looks like both will not feature in the 2013 edition. The organizers are keen to make it a six-team event.
It may be worth mentioning that the Sultan of Johor Cup is the only under-21 invitational hockey tourney in the world.
In fact, the tournament assumes a lot of significance as all the participating teams including likely participants Korea and Argentina have qualified for the 2013 Junior World Cup slated to be held in New Delhi this December.
Given this scenario, all teams are expected to bring their full strength sides in preparation for the marquee event.
2012 champions Germany are giving this year’s edition a miss. Last year, Germany replaced South Korea who played in the inaugural edition in 2011 alongside teams like Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.
It looks like India, Pakistan and Malaysia will be featuring in the third edition – thus ensuring that they have taken part in every Sultan of Johor Cup so far.
Malaysia had won the 2011 edition riding on skipper Noor Faeez’s golden goal off a penalty corner as they pulled off an exhilarating 3-2 win over Australia.
India had finished fourth losing 3-4 to Korea in the bronze medal play-off tie.
India performed even better in the 2012 edition, finishing runners-up losing to Germany 2-3 in the final showdown.