The National hockey team could do with lots of support from all Malaysians, and a graceful touch of Lady Luck when they march into the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan tomorrow.
National head coach Muhammad Dhaarma Raj and his motley band of ‘courageous soldiers’ as he fondly refers them, are on a special mission – to improve on their fourth placing at the 2001 and 2012 editions and in the process qualify for the coveted 2016 Champions Trophy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dhaarma Raj trimmed the squad down to 18 players, dropping three more after the last friendly match against Poland which the Malaysians won 2-1. Those dropped are Muhamad Ramadan Rosli, Mohd. Shahrun Nabil and Razie Rahim while defender Azlan Misron has been selected to wear the skipper’s band to lead the squad.
In the absence of senior goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin who is nursing a knee injury, Dhaarma Raj has placed his investments on S. Kumar and Juniors goalkeeper Mohd Hafizzudin Othman for the job between the goalmouths.
The others selected are Kevin Frederick Lim, Muhammad Marhan Mohd Jalil, Mohd Fitri Saari, Faizal Saari, Mohamad Shukri Abdul Mutalib, Muhammad Firhan Ashari, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Faiz Helmi Jali, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil, Muhammad Rashid Baharom, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Muhammad Sharil Saabah, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Muhammad Azri Hassan and Ismail Abu.
Malaysia kicks off its campaign against France in a late match in Saturday’s opening proceedings after New Zealand, ranked World No.6, and South Korea, face a fascinating Ireland and Canada respectively, while the Japan-Poland match is also expected to draw lots of attention.The French have included 12 players who finished second in the Junior World Cup last year and arrived with a bruised ego following 5-1 and 7-2 defeats against Belgium in two test matches in Europe last week but soothed that pain with a 4-3 win over Japan in a warm up match in Kuantan on Wednesday. Back