KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is banking on nine players who were instrumental in helping the national men’s indoor hockey team win the previous edition to defend their title at the 2024 Asia Cup in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan from May 21-25.

MHC indoor hockey committee chairman Shurizan Mansor said the full roster of 12 players for this tournament includes three new additions: defenders Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain and Shazril Irwan Nazli, and forward Abdul Khaliq Hamirin.

“This year’s competition is more challenging due to the different format. The champions and runners-up of both groups will play another round to determine the teams that will qualify for the final. The two teams that reach the final will automatically qualify for the 2025 World Cup.

“If Malaysia reaches the final, it will be a historic achievement as it would be our first time qualifying for the World Cup. This will likely attract more attention and support for the team,” he said in a statement by MHC today.

National men’s indoor hockey team head coach, Mohd Rodzhanizam Mat Radzi said player selection was based on individual technical and tactical skills, fitness, team spirit and discipline.

Malaysia is in Group B along with host Kazakhstan, Oman and Indonesia. Group A features Iran, Thailand, Singapore and Tajikistan.

In the second round, the top two teams from each group will be placed in Group C, while the remaining teams will be placed in Group D.

The top two teams in Group C will compete in the final after the second round.

Malaysia made history in the 2022 edition in Bangkok by winning their first Asia Cup title, defeating eight-time champions Iran 3-2 in a penalty shootout after both teams were tied 4-4 in regular time.

Following is the list of 12 players from the national men’s indoor hockey team who will compete in the 2024 Asia Cup in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan from May 21 to 25:

1. Mohd Khairul Afendy Kamaruzaman Goalkeeper

2. Mohamad Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri Goalkeeper

3. Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan Defender

4. Muhammad Aminuddin Mohd Zain Defender

5. Muhammad Aslam Mohamed Hanafiah Defender

6. Shazril Irwan Nazli Defender

7. Muhammad Firdaus Omar Midfielder

8. Muhammad Izham Azhar Midfielder

9. Norsyafiq Sumantri Forward

10. Muhammad Ashran Hamsani Forward

11. Faridzul Afiq Mohd Forward

12. Abdul Khaliq Hamirin Forward