Tuesday, February 11, 2014

National hockey team now down to 30 men

Mohamed Razie Rahim (left) in a file photo. He will not be playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after sustaining an injury while playing in the Hockey India League.
Mohamed Razie Rahim (left) in a file photo. He will not be playing in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after sustaining an injury while playing in the Hockey India League.

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team’s preparations for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hit another snag with a fourth player pulling out and the unavailability of penalty corner specialist Mohamed Razie Rahim due to an injury.

National junior Mohamed Syamin Yusof, who played in the Delhi Junior World Cup in December, is the latest player to withdraw from the squad of 35 players.

He cited personal reasons for pulling out. His withdrawal follows that of Harvinder Singh, Azreen Rizal and Engku Abdul Malek.

Razie was a shoo-in for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and his absence will be a big blow to the team as the tournament effectively kicks off their World Cup challenge. He is one of the two penalty corner specialists in the team. The other is Faizal Saari.

Razie dislocated his shoulder while playing for the Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League (HIL) earlier this month.

As the team did not make the second round of the competition, the national team management are hoping that Razie will come back earlier and start his rehab programme here.

Razie is one of three players who had signed up to play in the HIL this year. Faizal Saari was his team-mate in the Mumbai team while goalkeeper S. Kumar plays for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
Razie and Faizal are expected to return on Feb 18 while Kumar will only return after the league ends on Feb 28.

National team manager George Koshy on Monday confirmed that Razie is likely to miss the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which will be held in Ipoh from March 13-23.

“He is not likely to recover in time. Even then, we will not take the risk as he is an important player and we will need him fully fit for the World Cup in May.

“We want him to get as much rest as possible and come back into the team fully fit. We will assess his fitness and will only field him in April’s Champions Challenge I if we are convinced that he has recovered fully,” he said.

George added that Syamin cited personal reasons for his withdrawal and that they have accepted it.
He said that they have no plans to replace the four players who have pulled out of the team.

“At this stage, we have no plans to call up replacements. We will stick with 31 players in the training squad. There is no reason to bring in new players unless we are sure they can play in the coming tournaments. We have a blend of junior and senior players and it is now a matter of finding the right mix to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Champions Chellenge 1,” he added.


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