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Friday September 27, 2013 MYT 7:34:00 PM
Friday September 27, 2013 MYT 7:36:08 PM
by aftar singh
The real gauge of Mohd Hafizuddin Othman's goalkeeping skills will be against the Indians in the last group match on Saturday.
JOHOR BARU: Goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman faces the litmus test when Malaysia take on India in a sneak preview of the final in the Sultan of Johor Cup hockey tournament.
The 21-year-old Terengganu-born player has made a number of superb saves in the matches against top teams like Pakistan, Argentina and England.
But the real gauge of his talent will be against the skilful Indians in the last group match on Saturday. Both teams, by virtue of their wins in the last four matches, have already qualified for Sunday’s final.
Hafizuddin, is of course, wary of India’s Rohidas Amit who is renowned for his powerful drag flick from penalty corners.
“It’s really going to be a challenge for me to stop the Indian players, who have been impressive with their scoring skills. My task in the tournament is to give my best to earn the right to be the main goalkeeper for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December,” said Hafizuddin.
“Although I made a number of saves in three of the four matches, I am still not satisfied with my performance. I need to keep improving and make sure I don’t let in goals. We are happy to be in the final and want to win the title for the second time,” said Hafizuddin.
The other goalkeeper in the Malaysian team is Ahmad Sobri Mohd Hazrul Faiz, who only played one match - against South Korea.
Malaysia have been impressive in the third edition of the tournament by chalking up impressive wins over Argentina (4-2), South Korea (5-1), England (3-1) and Pakistan (4-2).
Hafizuddin said that they are delighted with the wins over England and Pakistan as both teams are in the same group as them for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December.
“We will face India in the last round-robin match tomorrow and on Sunday in the final and we hope to win both matches to remain unbeaten,” said Hafizuddin.
National junior coach K. Dharmaraj said that they would not take it easy against India on Saturday.
“I have told my players to give their best and keep the winning tempo going up to the final match,” said Dharmaraj.
“It is a great achievement to reach the final for the second time and it will be greater success if we can beat India who are powered by several national senior players.
“India are playing really well and they look to be the favourites to even win the Junior World Cup,” said Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to win the Asia Junior Cup in Malacca last year.
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hockey, Sultan of Johor Cup, Malaysia, goalkeeper, Mohd Hafizuddin Othman
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