COACH Dharmaraj’s Azlan Shah Cup preparations hit another big snag as No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar picked up an injury before the Hockey India League (HIL) semi-finals.
And he will be out for at least two weeks to undergo rehabilitation, and will miss the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 13-23.
“I am currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Institute of Sports and will need at least two weeks of rehab and rest before I can pad up again,” said Kumar.
Malaysia’s No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim also dislocated his shoulder during the HIL and not only will he be out for the Azlan Shah Cup, but he might not even be ready for the World Cup in Netherlands on May 31 to June 15.
Dharmaraj will name his squad, to defend last year’s silver medal, today (Tuesday), after training matches against Aus tralia and China.
Malaysia will be up against defending champions Aus tralia, who will be gunning for their eighth Azlan Shah Cup title; South Africa, South Korea, China and Canada.
Malaysia played a three-match series against Canada in Malacca last week and won 6-2, lost 5-4 and won the third match 5-1.
Meanwhile, Azzami Abadi was shell-shocked when he was dropped from the national training squad by Dharmaraj, and believes he gave his best and does not deserve a cold shoulder from his coach.
Dharmaraj had dropped Azzami, 24- years-old with 54 caps, upon returning from the Australian Tour last week.
“I have trained under coach Tai Beng Hai, Stephen van Huizen and recently Paul Revington and none of them had any problems with my playing style, determination and desire.
“All the coaches liked me and I have represented the nation 54 times as proof,” said Azzami.
“I always give my best in every match, training and team activities,” added Azzami.
He will now turn out for Tenaga Nasional in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.
Dharmaraj also cleared the air yesterday that he only said: “When I broke the news to him, I also said that you are a good boy and I have no problem with your attitude. I think it is better that you focus on your studies and you can also continue playing in Division One of the MHL.
“I will now call up two other players and see how they progress in this ongoing selection process until the World Cup.”