KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Johor Cup (SoJC) will return with a bang on Oct 22-29 after a two-year absence due to Covid-19.

The 10th edition of SoJC will feature top junior teams from five continents – Australia, Britain, India, Japan, South Africa and Malaysia.

We could not host the SoJC for the last two years because of Covid-19, but the stage is set for the 10th edition. We welcome five top teams in October to Johor Baru

Johor HA president, Datuk Manjit Singh

The SoJC, which is the only junior invitational hockey tournament in the world, made its debut in 2011 with Malaysia winning the gold medal. But the hosts have been struggling to reach the final since, with the exception of 2013, though Malaysia lost 3-0 to India then.

“It’s a special milestone for our junior invitational, which has also helped expose our national team to the best in the world since 2011. And since Malaysia will be hosting the Junior World Cup (JWC) next year, the SoJC in October will help indicate where we stand among the best.

“Next year, we plan to invite eight teams and host the SoJC two months before the Junior World Cup to give our national players maximum exposure so that they can hit the ground running,” said Manjit.

Malaysia were quarter-finalists at the last JWC, but found the going tough and ended up eighth in the world among 16 teams.

With Malaysia seeking a semi-final place as the JWC hosts in 2023, the SoJC is the perfect platform to test their strength.