Published: Monday April 7, 2014 MYT 5:43:00 PM
Updated: Monday April 7, 2014 MYT 10:22:57 PM

Nabil desperate for Champions Challenge spot

KUALA LUMPUR: Midfielder Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor is a man in a hurry. He despearately wants to play in the friendly matches against China from April 13-16 to earn a place in the Champions Challenge I team.

There’s just one problem – his injuries.

Nabil has had to sit out of training for the most part of the last three months and has yet to train under new national hockey coach K. Dharmaraj since the latter was appointed in January.

The injury also kept him out of the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh where Malaysia finished runners-up to Australia.

Just as he recovered from one injury (shoulder), he got another (calf) after being cleared for training last week.

On Monday, Nabil said he has now been given clearance to start training from next Monday when the China matches start.

“I may not feature in the first match on April 13 but I would like to make the team for the other games. That is the main selection ground for the Champions Challenge team, and making that team will also give me a chance for a World Cup spot.

“I am really disappointed with the injuries and hope that it will be a thing of the past once I get into full training. I have yet to feature in a World Cup or the Olympics and as such this is the best opportunity for me to play in at least one of the two biggest meets in hockey,” he added.

Nabil, 29, has been a regular with the national team for the past eight years. He played in the World Cup qualifier in Invercagill, New Zealand, in 2009 and the Dublin Olympic qualifier in 2006. Both campaigns ended in failure for the national team.

“This year, the World Cup and Asian Games in September are the two major assignments for our team. Naturally, I want to be part of the team. I have been going for treatment and the calf injury is healing quite well. I feel optimistic that I can resume full training by Monday and take part in the friendly games,” he added.

Malaysia will play six matches with the visiting China team, followed by another two with France and Poland on April 22 and 24 respectively.

The Champions Challenge I will be held in Kuantan from April 26-May 4.

Malaysia are in Group B with South Korea, Canada and France. The teams in Group A are New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and Poland.

Tags / Keywords: hockey, Dharmaraj, Champions Challenge, Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor, World Cup, Asian Games


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