HE was once listed among the most talented players in the world by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) but Faizal Shaari loaded his ego gun and shot himself in the foot real bad.
And he is still limping around, waiting for his ban to play in international matches to end on June 20, while his team-mates played in the Azlan Shah Cup and will be going on a Tour of Japan on June 5-16.
Fazial was banned from playing in international matches after he skipped training without any reason, and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) executive board even came up with a new code-of-conduct in their meeting in December.
MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal had said then: "Under the new code of conduct, players who skip national training without valid reasons will be suspended for six months. This is a warning to all the players in the national set-up, from the juniors to the seniors at all levels."
This came about after the MHC Discipliniry Committee had only let him off with a warning, together with Syamin Yusof, for indiscipline.
National coach Stephen van Huizen watched Faizal play in the Razak Cup where he top-scored with seven goals to hand Terengganu only their second title in Division One. The first was won in 2012. He scored two goals in their 3-0 win over Police in the final.
"Firstly, his ban only ends on June 20, while we will be travelling to Japan on June 5 for two Test and four friendlies. And then, his fitness was also not up to mark as he has been out of training since December.
"It will not be fair to select him immediately after the ban ends, as he needs to prove himself further... especially show that he will not become a problem in the team once we select him.
"He has not spoken to me about making a comeback, and I have only read in the newspapers about his intent to re-joing national training.
"If he is really interested, work on his fitness, and then come and meet us (coaching set-up) and have a talk. We will need to underline certain criteria and rules for him to follow, if it is agreed that he returns to national training," said van Huizen.
The coach also believes other youth have overtaken him by giving their best in training.
"We can't just bring him in and drop other players who have been giving their best in training over the months. Hockey is a team sport where discipline is utmost, and if he returns and starts to behave the same way like he did before the ban, it would be disruptive for the national team."
For now, it looks like even though Faizal door into the national team is not closed, as Subahan said earlier, but its not wide open for him to just walk in. There is just a crack of an opening, and he will have to prove himself on his own, by working on his fitness -- and attitude as well.