Friday, 3 January 2014 | MYT 6:22 PM
Faizal hoping to strike good in India
Faizal Saari (left) will feature in the Hockey India League (HIL) for the second time and will play for the Dabur Mumbai Magicians. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey forward Faizal Saari will be making his second foray into Hockey India League (HIL).
He will play for the Dabur Mumbai Magicians for the second-year running. He is one of the two Malaysians selected to play in the league. The other is goalkeeper S. Kumar, who will turn out for Uttar Pradesh Wizards. Both players played for the same teams last year.
Both players have been released by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to play in the HIL although the national team will be in training.
They will leave for India on Jan 15 after attending a three-day physical test with the national team next week.
Faizal said he was excited to be playing in the HIL again.
“My target is to do better than last year. Although I got the chance to play in all the matches last year, I failed to score a single goal. That was a low point for me. But I enjoyed playing in the league.
“I believe there will be more games this year as there are six teams in the fray this time compared to just five last season,” added Faizal, whose first venture overseas was in the Western Australian League in 2012.
Faizal also played for the Berlin Tennis Club in the Bundesliga in September last year.
“I scored seven goals in Germany. I believe this time I should be able to get the goals in India,” he said.
A total of 59 foreign players are taking part in the HIL.
Twenty five players are from Australia while Holland have seven. The others are from Spain (six), England (five), New Zealand, South Africa (four each), Argentina (three), Germany (two) and Ireland (one).
Faizal said he hoped to get better by learning from the other players.
“Besides scoring, I also want to ensure that I get to play in as many matches as possible. There will be a maximum of 14 matches this year. We have a very tough national programme this year with several big tournaments. It is important for all of us to improve our game and aim for a good performance all round.
“One of the highlights will be to play and do well in the World Cup in May,” he said.
Faizal said he would contimue to pursue playing chances in other overseas leagues.
“I would like to play abroad more often. It is a great way to improve one’s game. But this year the national team will have top priority,” he said.