Malaysian Hockey Federation announces squad for the Champions Challenge I
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) announced an 18-member men’s squad for the upcoming FIH Champions Challenge I, set to be played from November 26 to December 4, 2011, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
MHF Deputy President, Datuk Nor Azmi Ahmed, named the squad that will leave for Johannesburg on Saturday, November 19.
Fifteen players out of total eighteen were part of the squad that lifted the bronze medal for Malaysia in the inaugural version of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT).
Muhammad Firhan Ashaari and Faizal Saari, the two players from the Project 2013 Squad who did not contest the recently concluded Sultan of Johor Cup, were also picked up for the national team for the Champions Challenge I.
Experienced players, Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Mohamed Izzat Rahim and Azlan Misron, who were not part of the squad in the Asian Champions Trophy, also made a comeback in the national line-up.
Speaking to the media after making the announcement, Azmi Ahmed said that the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is aspiring for a position among the top five teams.
He observed, “All those left behind are very much in the selection for the Olympic qualifiers. We needed to make some changes, as this will allow those who did not play in the Asian Champions Trophy the chance to prove themselves”.
In a surprising move, the MHF did not consider Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor for the forthcoming tournament. It is pertinent to mention here that he was ruled out from the squad for the first time since the starting of his career, back in 2007.
Legendary youngsters, Fitri Saari and Amir Farid, who donned colours for the Project 2013 Squad in the Sultan of Johor Cup, were also neglected.
Malaysian National Coach, Tai Beng Hai, spoke with the media about the team selected for the mega event. He clarified that Nabil Fiqri was omitted from the squad to give him some rest to recover from injuries.
He added, “The juniors boys were left out as they had just played in the Johor meet. I must stress that all the players in training are very much part of our selection process and we rotate players to see how they fare in the tournaments”.
The coach also expressed delight, saying that the junior players were giving a tough time to the senior players in securing places in the national team.
The Champions Challenge I is featuring teams from Malaysia, Canada, Argentina Japan, India, Belgium, South Africa and Poland.
The Malaysian team will also contest a couple of friendly games against India and South Africa ahead of the tournament.
The Malaysian squad is comprised of S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin, Mohamed Amin Rahim, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, Baljit Singh, Mohamed Razie Rahim, Mohamed Izzat Rahim, Mohamed Shahrun Nabil, Mohamed Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Izwan Firdaus,
Faizal Saari, Azammi Adabi, Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Mohamed Firhan Ashaari, Mohamed Marhan Mohamed Jalil and Azreen Rizal Nasir.