Friday, October 2, 2015
THE MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) selected 35 trainees for the senior squad yesterday, and it was based on merit and not sentiment.
Three former stalwarts were dropped from the list, but Technical Director Terry Walsh reminded everybody that: "The door swings both ways."
Veteran goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and midfielder Azlan Misron were left out, as MHC start preparing to get back into the Olympic and World Cup.
Azlan is the highest capped Malaysian player with 349 internationals, while Roslan retired with 199 and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin with 206.
Coach Stephen van Huizen and assistant Lim Chiow Chuan selected a team with an average age of 24, with the oldest being goalkeeper S. Kumar who is 36.
Baljit Singh will no longer be the sole Punjabi representative, as Harmeet Singh, Harmesh Singh and Harvinder Singh were also included in the training squad.
Harmeet, 23, and Harmesh, 22, played for Sapura in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League, while Harvinder turned out for Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club.
"The selection was done with the Olympics and World Cup in mind, and so, we had to leave behind some players and try out others. We have six months to the Azlan Shah Cup, and so, emphasis would be on fitness and technical aspect of the game," said van Huizen.
Also selected was Joel Samuel, van Huizen's son, who last turned out for the country in the 2013 Junior World Cup. He played for Sapura in the MHL.
Walsh, tasked to turned around Malaysia's hockey misfortunes said: "Those who have been selected and those who were dropped must always understand that the door swings both ways. Don't take anything for granted, and comeback is also a possibility."
Three 21-year-olds who will play in the Sultan of Johor Cup and then the Junior Asia Cup were also named as senior trainees.
Meor Azuan, Shahril Saabah and Haziq Shamsul will be coach Arul Selvaraj's stalwarts when Malaysia play in both the junior tournaments.
"Training will start on Monday with 21 players, as some are away with their clubs overseas, while others have some commitments to settle before answering the call-up," said van Huizen.
GOALKEEPERS: S. Kumar (age 36), Hairi Abdul Rahman (25), Hafizuddin Othman (23), Hazrul Faiz (22).
DEFENDERS: Razie Rahim (28), Noor Faeez Ibrahim (24), Suhkri Mutalib (29), Azlam Hanafiah (22), Izad Hakimi (23), Harmesh Singh (22), Harmeet Singh (23), Shahrun Nabil (30), Shazril Irwan (22), Baljit Singh (29).
MIDFIELDERS: Nabil Fiqri (28), Azri Hassan (23), Harvinder Singh (26), Joel Samuel van Huizen (23), Faiz Helmi (23), Marhan Jalil (25), Fitri Shaari (22), Ramadan Rosli (24), Norhizzat Sumantri (24), Meor Azuan (21).
FORWARDS: Rashid Baharom (23), Syamin Yusof (23), Dedi Ariyadi (24), Hafiz Zainol (22), Faridzul Afiq (23), Dangerous Lee (23), Faizal Shaari (24), Firhan Ashari (22), Shahril Saabah (21), Haziq Samsul (21), Izwan Firdaus (26).
THE MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) training squad, after decades, saw four Punjabi's called up at once. S. Kumar is eldest at 36, while three juniors Meor Azuan, Shahril Saabah and Haziq Samsul will first play in the Sultan of Johor Cup then the Junior Asia Cup before joining the seniors.
HARMESH SINGH (right)