NATIONAL hockey captain Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan from tiny Perlis, is looking for a giant leap in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men’s International hockey tournament.
The 27-year-old who hails from Berseri Mukim, was named captain to replace Marhan Jalil who is injured for the tournament, but despite just a draw after two matches, Najmi is counting on lifting his second title in 3 months and creating history to bag the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time in the history of the tournament.
Malaysia have finished runners-up five times – 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014 – in the tournament.
Najmi was the captain of the national indoor hockey team who emerged victorious in Bangkok in the Asian Indoor Hockey tournament beating favourites and third ranked Iran.
Malaysia who were ranked 21st beat Iran in penalty shoot-out (3-2) after they were tied 4-4 after regulation time.
Najmi nicknamed Keon, said he was indeed surprised when named captain for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, but it was an honour and now wants to repay the confidence of his team officials and guide his team to a historic win.
“Yes, we have not had the best of starts, but nothing is lost until the last match and final whistle,” said Najmi.
“We had a slow start against Korea going down 0-3, but we picked up well against Pakistan and were unlucky to have drawn the match.
“As it stands, we need to win all our three remaining matches, starting with South Africa tomorrow.
“There is no easy matches in this tournament, especially with several surprising results in the fist two days.”
Najmi said the team is all determined to do well in this tournament and is confident that they rise to the occasion.
“All we need to do now is to make use of our chances and be clinical in our finishes. We had many chances in the last two matches but had failed to capitalise,” said Najmi who is one of the penalty flickers.
“I was the flicker for two of the eight we have had in two matches and I hope when I get the opportunity this time around, I will be able to make it count.”
Razie Rahim is the other flicker, in the absence of Faizal Shari and Sharil Saabah.
Najmi who normally plays as right back, now plays central defence with Razie, in the absence of Marhan.
“We miss the senior and experienced players in the team, but we have managed to cope and it is an opportunity for the young players to rise to the occasion and make their mark.
“I believe that we have what it takes to reach the final and will start winning our matches. We are not taking any of our opponents as easy teams, but is just that we believe in ourselves and want to prove that we are capable of achieving results.”