KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia expect to qualify for the final of the inaugural men’s Asia Cup indoor hockey tournament, which begins today at the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh.

Malaysia have two teams in the fray. The others are Iran, Singapore, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

The preliminaries will take a round-robin format with the top two teams contesting the final on Sunday.

Iran, who won the gold medal in the second Asian Indoor Games in Macau last year, will start as the favourites.

Malaysia A team manager Kenneth Pereira said that Iran had the same set of players from the Games-winning side and they were also favoured to make the final in Ipoh.

“We also have the same team who played in Macau and held Iran to a 3-3 draw in a group match. We are banking on reaching the final,’’ said Kenneth.

Former national skipper S. Kuhan will spearhead the Malaysia A challenge.

The other members of the team are goalkeeper Mohd Nasihin Nubli, K. Keevan Raj, S. Shanker, P. Prabahkaran, Mohd Rodhanizam Mat Radzi, Mohd Razi Mohd Ismail and the Mohan brothers, Jiwa and Jeevan.

Malaysia B are represented by Mohd Hafizuddin Osman, Mohd Khairul Effendy Kamarulzaman, M. Vizayan, Mohd Adam Mustaffa, Mohd Hafiz Zakaria, Mohd Faizal Kamaruddin, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Hafis Jami and G. Sasitheran.

Kenneth added that the tournament would be good for players to sharpen their skills.

“The tournament is also meant to help develop indoor hockey in Malaysia. And youngsters are encourage to come and watch the matches to learn more about the game,’’ he said.

The Star of Malaysia