National hockey coach Stephen Van Huizen is tasked with selecting 24-member squad under the Podium Programme. File pic by OSMAN ADNAN.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hockey coach Stephen Van Huizen will place a priority on players who have been with the national team for at least two years when deciding on his 24-member squad under the Podium Programme.

Van Huizen said it will be tough to decide but stressed that he will not marginalise players who do not make the cut.

"I have yet to discuss this with Terry Walsh (technical director of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation). We also need to get more details on the programme when we meet the National Sports Institute (NSI) next week," said Van Huizen.

"We will gain more info on requirements in that meeting."

Van Huizen said he is hoping to come up with the list within two weeks.

"For the ‘Kita Juara’ programme, we had a main squad and a development squad. We now have to work out a solution for those who do not make the Podium Programme.

"We are, however, looking to retain as many players as possible in our training squad.

"This is to ensure that we have adequate players should there be problems, such as when players are sitting for their examinations,” he added.

NSI had last week announced the inclusion of hockey in the Podium Programme following their fine performance at the recent Asia Cup in Dhaka where they finished runners-up.

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