National hockey coach A. Arul Selvaraj is counting on playing time acquired by players in the squad to make up for the loss of experience of players who failed to make the squad owing to injuries.
This morning in Ipoh, Arul named his squad of 18 players for the 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 tournament starting on Tuesday where he had dropped three players from the squad of 21 he had.
The three dropped after careful evaluation of the players current status based on performance are goalkeeper Albert Adrian, defender Syarman Mat and striker Norsyafiq.
Arul in his 18 squad has two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and six strikers.
Two players who had just returned from injury -defender Faiz Helmi (ankle) and forward Syafiq Sumantri (adductor) survived the cut as Arul saw them fit to be in the team.
“Although they were injured they continued to train with the team in other aspects lik gym work, rehabilitation programme and fitness and strenghth,” said Arul.
Earlier key players captain Marhan Jalil and Shahril Saaban were also ruled out because injuries.
“All the injured players are in Ipoh undergoing treatment and recovery training, as they are part of the squad with the hope that they will be available for upcoming tournaments – Nations Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from Nov 28-Dec 4, the World Cup in January and Asian Games in Hangzhou in September,” added Arul.
Arul also named the team captain as Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan.
Najmi however had to returned to his home in Perlis early this morning after getting news that his mother-in-law had passed away.
But he will be back tonight (last night) or tomorrow (today). The team has an off day tomorrow (Sunday).
“When we got news that Najmi’s mother-in-law passed away, we told him to return to Perlis to make the necessay arrangements and be with his wife. It is best he went because otherwise he will not have peace of mind and his family too might be happy with him,” said team manager Datuk Mirawan Nawawi.
“Now when he returns and find out that he has been named captain, I am sure will be highly motivated,” he added.
Arul added that Najmi was the right choice in the absence of Marhan as he is a good leader, a motivator and understands the game well.
There was strong speculation that the most capped and senior player, defender Razie Rahim, would be named captain.
“Razie is indeed a strong leader and whether he is captain or not, he plays a key role in leading the team and will partner with Najmi to do well together from the back,” added Arul.
“Besides, we have eight players in the team who have strong leadership qualities and each one of them will be playing their role as leaders as we play as a unit.”
THE SQUAD OF 18
MUHAMMAD HAFIZUDDIN OTHMAN
MOHD ZAIMI MAT DERIS
MUHAMMAD RAZIE ABD RAHIM
MUHAMMAD NAJMI FARIZAL JAZLAN
MUHAMMAD SYAFIQ HASSAN
MUHAMMAD AMINUDDIN MOHD ZAIN
MUHAMMAD FIRHAN ASHAARI
FAIZ HELMI JALI
MEOR MUHAMMAD AZUAN HASSAN
NIK MUHAMMAD AIMAN NIK ROZEMI
MUHAMMAD AMIRUL HAMIZAN AZAHAR
MUHAMMAD NAJIB ABU HASSAN
MOHAMAD ASHRAN HAMSANI
TENGKU NASRUL IKMAL TENGKU ABD RAHIM
MUHAMMAD AZRAI AIZAD ABU KAMAL
1 NOV 2022
MALAYSIA LWN KOREA
2 NOV 2022
PAKISTAN LWN MALAYSIA
4 NOV 2022
AFRIKA SELATAN LWN MALAYSIA
5 NOV 2022
MALAYSIA LWN EGYPT
7 NOV 2022
MALAYSIA LWN JEPUN