A new format of hockey introduced by the International Hockey Federation is set to make its international debut in Singapore.
The Boys U-16 Asia Cup competition, which will take place in April, will be the first official hockey tournament to use the five-a-side format.
Since October, 15 boys from the Singapore team have been training at the Sengkang Hockey stadium and they are looking forward to competing on a smaller pitch.
National U-16 player Ahmad Faris said: "In five versus five, we are allowed to shoot from anywhere so there are definitely going to be more goal scoring opportunities, we can expect higher scorelines."
For goalkeeper Wee Wei Xuan, the new format will make his job slightly tougher.
"In the 11-a-side format, the goal keeper gets to rest and like walk around but this five-a-side is a lot more challenging which makes it more fun," said Wee.
Ten nations are lining up to do battle at Sengkang in early April and powerhouses like Pakistan will be leading the Asian charge.
The tournament will also function as the Asian qualifiers for next year's Youth Olympic Games.
Only two teams will make the cut but host Singapore remains optimistic due to the new format of play.
National U-16 coach Coen Van Putten said: "It is new for everybody. What we do is we focus on our own performance and we hope we are prepared well. I think we are prepared well but it's always interesting to see what other teams come up with."
Fans are expected to take to the new format too.
The Singapore Hockey Federation is expecting a full-house here at the Sengkang Hockey stadium during the Asia Cup. A carnival like atmosphere will be created similar to the buzz during the 2009 Junior World Cup and 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
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Source: Channel News
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