JOHOR BAHRU, Dec 20 – Johor Hockey Association president, Dato Majid Manjit Abdullah is one happy man with the government’s easing of restrictions and giving the sports industry breathing space from next year – which augurs well for international meets in the country.
The annual Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) this year had to be canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic which played havoc in the sporting world.
Hockey fans in the country are in for a treat for the 10th edition of the annual Under-21 International tournament which had to be called off due to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) imposed by the government.
Manjit, who was elected unopposed as JHA president in October also revealed that the coming SOJC will be an eight nation meet – a first for the tournament since it was inaugurated in 2011.
Five teams – Great Britain, India, Australia, Japan and host Malaysia have already been confirmed while replies are awaited from hockey giants Germany, Belgium and Spain. Egypt is on the standby list.
”I believe it will be the best SOJC since its inauguration and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the pandemic will ease off so that the borders can be opened for international traveling,” said Manjit, a pillar in organizing the tournament that features on the FIH calendar.
One of the most sought junior tournament, it is the only Under-21 meet that is held annually. Teams have been knocking on the doors to be invited but due to logistics, it has been a six-nation invitational tournament.
Next year’s SOJC has been scheduled for Sept 4-12 and the venue is none other than the world class Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, Johor Bahru on the outskirts of the city.
The stadium was also the venue where the 2009 Junior World Cup final was played.
If Spain or Belgium agree to compete, it will be first for both teams while Egypt has made numerous requests to be invited.
Germany came in 2012 and returned home as champions after a 3-2 win over India in extra time.
Defending champions Great Britain also won in 2015 and 2018. India won twice in 2013 and 2014 – same as Australia who won in 2016 and retained the title in 2017.
For the record, Malaysia engraved their name as the inaugural champions after defeating Australia 3-2 in extra time in 2011.
The SOJC is the brainchild of two royalties – present King, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (who was then the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang) and Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

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