Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HOCKEY - It’s over for Madzli

KUALA LUMPUR: Skipper Mohamed Madzli Ikmar has decided to call it quits after 14 years of faithful service to the national hockey team.

Madzli had earlier said that his hope was to go out in glory by taking the team to the London Olympics, but that ended in abject failure.

Madzli said it was a big disappointment — the worst moment of his life.

Tough decision: Mohamed Madzli Ikmar will continue to play in the domestic league.
 
The 33-year-old, who made his debut in 1998, was among a handful of Olympians in the team for the Dublin qualifier, having played in Sydney 2000.

Malaysian hockey has since failed to qualify for three Olympics (2004, 2008 and 2012) and two World Cups (2006 and 2010).

Madzli, who was an integral part of all five campaigns, cited age as the main reason for his retirement although it is clear that the failure in Dublin hastened his decision.

“We had a good team but, for some reason, it didn’t work out. I believe we had the best players available for Dublin campaign. We also had a good preparation.

“Of course we can say so many things now but, ultimately, we all must take responsibility for it,” said Madzli, who has a record 322 international caps.

Madzli did not want to comment on the recent furore over the critical report on the Dublin failure submitted by coach Tai Beng Hai to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
“To be honest, I haven’t seen it. I only know what I heard from others and from what was reported in the media.

“It isn’t fair for me to say anything at this stage,” he said.
However, not all is doom and gloom for Madzli as he has had some good moments with the national team.
They won a bronze in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and he also was part of the team that won a historic silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

At the 2006 Qatar Asian Games, the team failed to make the semi-finals and several senior players were blamed for the defeat. Madzli was subsequently dropped from the team.

But the Tenaga Nasional player prevailed and, six months later, after a good showing in the domestic leagues, Madzli regained his place in the team and was skipper for almost five years.
Madzli said he was not bitter as he had always given his best to the team.

Now he plans to advance his career with Tenaga Nasional and to take up coaching.
“I will go into coaching as Tenaga have their Thunderbolt hockey programme. I hope to make some contribution to the game as a coach.

“My career will come first as it has suffered after 14 years with the national team. I intend to continue playing in the domestic league as long as I’m selected,” said Madzli.
He also called on his senior national team-mates, who have yet to reach their 30s, to stay on to fight another day.

“They can still play for a few more years and I hope they will be the mainstay of the team. We need them to guide the younger players. Let us continue the fight to take Malaysia back among the elite,” he said.



THE STAR

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