Mohd Razie Rahim (right) will make his debut in the Indian Hockey League with the Dabur Mumbai Magicians on Saturday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: National defender Mohd Razie Rahim is the third Malaysian to have been picked to play in the Hockey India League, which starts in New Delhi on Saturday.
He will join compatriot Faizal Saari in the Dabur Mumbai Magicians team. Another Malaysian, goalkeeper S. Kumar, plays for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
Razie, who left for the Indian capital on Thursday night and will be away until Feb 23, is clearly excited at the chance to play in the Hockey India League for the first time.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to the league as it will help me improve on my game. This is my first time there ... while the other two have played there last year.
“I hope there will be ample chance to play in the matches ... I’m looking forward to playing with some of the star players from the other countries,” he said.
Razie was not in the initial list of players when the auction was held last month, but the withdrawal of some players paved the way for his call-up.
Razie has also been allowed to skip national team training for a month. Besides his role as a defender with the national team, he is also the specialist flicker.
National coach K. Dharmaraj said on Friday that Razie will benefit from the stint in India.
“There is no problem with him or the other two players taking part in the Indian league. It is a professional league and the quality of matches will be high. On top of that, they will playing with and against some of the best players in the world ... there is a good chance for them to learn from this trip.
“Razie and Faizal are key members of the national team as they are our main penalty corner flickers. There is no issue with their absence for our training phase. They will be back when we enter into the final phase of training for the Sultan Azlam Shah Cup,” he said.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be held in Ipoh from March 13-23.