Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Salvador Indurain

Though the second round commences on Sunday, there are serious issues that need to be sorted out by the organisors of the Junior World Cup.

On the top of the agenda is the issue of traveling across the causeway for matches.

The top two teams in each group at the end of the preliminary round will make the second round. They will be split into two groups of four each.

However the teams will stay at their respective locations, Johor and Singapore, and will not be moving.

Thus there will be a lot of traveling involved. But that is not a big deal for the teams as the bigger problem is the slow process of clearing immigration and customs formalities at the Singapore end.

For the opening ceremony which was held in Singapore, it took teams 90 minutes to clear the formalities.

"We raised this issue at the Team Manager's meeting but have yet to receive any feedback," said Pakistan's coach KM Junaid.

"It will be grossly unfair to the teams crossing the causeway as they will need to travel at least ninety minutes as opposed to the other team that has a shorter traveling time of 15 to 20 minutes. "

While teams are happy with the arrangements made by the Malaysian organisors, they were not comfortable with the lack of initiative from the Singapore end.

"If it was a football or basketball tournament, I guess there will not be such a problem' said Spanish coach Salvador Indurain.

"I am surprised that the Singapore organisors made no special arrangements given that this is a World Cup.

"I even suggested that they seal the bus with a Singapore security official onboard when we depart from our hotel to facilitate things. But I have not heard anything from the Tournament Director yet."

Much of the delay at the Singapore side stems from the fact that the teams have to unload their luggage and no special lanes are allocated to them.

It is learnt that some teams will be moving out from their hotel in Singapore to Johor Baru after the first round so as to avoid the causeway delay.