The Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 Invitational International tournament is back after a two-year hiatus due to the global Covid-19 pandemic which saw the shutting down of industries, travel, borders and sport also saw similar effects.
This led to almost total shutdown of competitive sport at all levels and the Sultan of Johor Cup was no exception. The 10th Anniversary of the tournament edition had to be cancelled in 2020 and last year.
The return of the world acclaimed tournament comes with more good news. The six-nation tournament will be expanded to eight teams from next year (2023). Next year’s Sultan of Johor Cup is also scheduled to be held in October before the Junior World Cup Finals to be hosted by Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in December.
Johor Hockey Association president Dato’ Majid Manjit Abdullah confirmed the eight-team participation in next year’s Sultan of Johor Cup. He said the much awaited change is needed as countries have been knocking on the doors to be invited to the popular tournament which features in the FIH annual calendar.
Manjit also revealed that Germany is the first team to have confirmed their interest in next year’s Sultan of Johor Cup. According to Manjit the Germans have already written to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) on the matter.
With the increase in teams the format for Sultan of Johor Cup is expected to change from the current round-robin league with the top two teams playing in the final while the third and fourth placed teams battle for the third placing playoff.
For the record, Malaysia had the honour of being the first team to engrave their name on the majestic trophy costing RM100,000 and made of sterling silver. The specially crafted silverware was handmade in London.
In the inaugural tournament in 2011, Malaysia beat Australia 3-2 in the final after extra time. South Korea beat India 4-3 also after extra time to take third place. It was a historic win for Malaysia as it was Malaysia’s first ever international hockey title either at home or abroad.
Great Britain have been the most successful team in the tournament, winning the title three times and are the defending champions. They won in 2015, 2018, 2019. India and Australia have each won the title twice. The Indians were champions in 2013 and 2014 while the Aussies engraved their name in 2016, 2017. Germany is the only other team to have lifted the silverware and this was in 2012 with a 3-2 win over India in the final.
The 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Hockey Cup will be held at the world class Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru from October 22-29.
South Africa is making its debut in the tournament which will add colour to the weeklong hockey extravaganza. The other teams are Australia, Great Britain, India Japan and host Malaysia.
As hosts, Malaysia have featured in all previous editions while Australia and India are next on the list with eight (8) appearances each, followed by Great Britain and New Zealand seven (7) each and Pakistan on six (6).
The official launch of this year’s Sultan of Johor Cup was held at the Persada International Conventional Centre in Johor Bahru on Thursday (September 15). It was launched in a glittering ceremony by Johor’s sports loving ruler His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim.
Also present at the ceremony was Johor Chief Minister Datuk Onn Hafiz bin Ghazi, Johor State Youth, Sports, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Committee chairman Tuan Mohd Hairi bin Mad Shah, Johor State Secretary Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Haji Azmi Azmi bin Rohani, Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria, MHC president Dato Sri Subahan Kamal and Johor Hockey Association president Dato Majid Manjit Abdullah.
The tournament, co-hosted by the Johor State Government, Johor Hockey Association (JHA) and Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), raised RM1,855,000.00 million from various sponsors.
The Johor Government led the sponsorship contribution with RM500,000. Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), the official host broadcaster, was the next highest with RM200,000 followed by Johor Corporation (JCorp), SKS Group, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Contemporary Logistics – all with pledges of RM100,000 each.