GREAT Britain must rank as favorites against South Africa in their Sultan of Johor Cup match at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium tomorrow.

“We have assembled an exciting 18-member strong team to defend our title,” said team manager Paul Gannon.

“This SOJC is very important and part of our programme and we have obviously had success three times and along the way we also had mixed results.”

“We respect every opposition and we do expect South Africa to put up a strong challenge. I believe South Africa have good knowledge of the SOJC and put in a lot of training sessions. “

The six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup is the only international invitational Under-21 tournament in the world.

“We are extremely grateful to Dato’ Manjit (Singh) for inviting us and appreciate every single year. We are looking forward to the opportunity of winning our matches,” he added.

“Before coming here, the players played for their respective Home Nations in the European championships. England finished in sixth position out of eight teams,” explained Gannon.

Gannon has a good history of the SOJC as this is his sixth tour of duty since 2015 as manager of Great Britain team which is made up of players from England, Scotland and Wales.

More than half of the British squad players who won the trophy in 2019 have moved on to play senior international hockey with their Home Nations.

Goalkeeper Ollie Payne went on to be one of Team GB’s key players in the Tokyo Olympics.