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U16 hockey boys relishing Asia Cup challenge

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Fresh from hosting the 3rd Women’s Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Cup, which saw a host of Asian Women Hockey powerhouses grace the shores of Singapore in December 2012, the Singapore Hockey Federation is at it again.

This time, the Boys U16 Asia Cup will take place from the 4th - 7th of April 2013 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium. Nine out of 15 Asian countries will partake in the tournament including the likes of Pakistan, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, China, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and host nation Singapore.

For the first time ever at an International level, the Hockey5 (5-a-side) format will be adopted, promising high intensity hockey that is bound to captivate the audience. The top two teams will qualify for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing, China in 2014, adding a greater incentive for players to hit their level best.

The Singapore U16 Boys team has been training hard over recent months and the core of the team is gelling well. Having returned from a training stint in Perth, the experience there will not be easily forgotten.

“The trip to Perth was a real eye-opener for me and the rest of the team. We learnt a lot there and we hope to implement them in our trainings sessions as we prepare for the Asia Cup,” said Achmad Faris Muhd Johari, a member of the squad.

Morale in the camp is at a high at this juncture. When asked about the targets that he has set for himself and the team, Faris was a picture of confidence when he reiterated his desire to reach the finals.

Team coach, Coen Van Putten, was quick to take a more cautious stance adding that the new format and the difference in size might pose potential threats to his team.

“The Hockey5 format will be interesting as it hasn’t been done before so we are not able to judge the level of our competition. Having come back from Perth, we realized the vast difference in size between us and our opponents so we have to work on measures to counter this,” said Van Putten.

In the build up to the tournament, the Singapore U-16 team will be engaging in several activities to generate buzz amongst the Singapore public. These activities include charity runs, visits to charitable organisations and fringe activities on tournament day.

Hockey fans looking to support the National U-16 boys in April can look forward to a carnival-like atmosphere at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium as live music, face paintings, prize give aways and other initiatives will be put in place to generate pre-match hype.

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