JOHOR BAHRU, March 16 – The 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 invitational tournament will be an eight-team affair this year instead of six with Canada, Egypt, and South Africa making their first appearance in the world acclaimed tournament.
Last year’s tournament was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s tournament has been scheduled to be held at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru from Sept 5-12. The stadium with world-class facilities was also the venue for the Junior World Finals in 2009.
Johor Hockey Association president Dato Manjit Majid Abdullah said the other countries which have confirmed participation are India, Australia, Great Britain, Japan, and host Malaysia.
For the first time, the SOJC will be played under a new format. The eight teams will be drawn into two groups with the top two teams in their respective groups playing in the cross over semifinals.
In the past, it was a round-robin league with the top two teams playing in the final and the third and fourth-placed teams vying for third place.
The SOJC is a great hit with teams, especially teams that qualify for the Junior World Cup Finals to be hosted by India later this year (the FIH has yet to announce dates). India is also the defending Junior World Cup champions.
Most of the teams taking part in this year’s SOJC are expected to qualify for the Junior World Cup Finals from their respective continents. India as host has already qualified for the Junior Cup Finals.

“It is going to be a week-long of hockey extravaganza. Teams have been deprived of top-class hockey due to the pandemic. With Canada, Egypt, and South Africa coming into the fray for the first time it will be interesting to see if there will be a new champion,” said Manjit who has single-handedly ensured the smooth running of the SOJC.

The SOJC is the only annual international Under-21 tournament and is the brainchild of the two royalties – the Sultan of Johor and the present Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al Sultan Abdullah the then Crown Prince of Pahang. It was inaugurated in 2011.
The sports-loving royalties did not want to leave the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, located on the outskirts of the booming Johor Bahru City, a white elephant.
Malaysia was the inaugural champions of the Sultan of Johor Cup after defeating Australia 3-2 in extra time with the score tied at 2-2 in regulation time. Great Britain is the only team to have won the title three times (2015, 2018, 2019) while India (2013, 2014) and Australia (2016, 2017) have won the Cup twice each.
Germany won the title once and this was in 2012 with a 3-2 win over India in the final.

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