National hockey coach, K. Dharmaraj (right) drilling the goalkeepers during a training session at the national hockey stadium in Bukit Jalil last week. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Ex-national hockey coach, Paul Revington is expected to attend Monday’s training session as he serves out his three months’ notice. And newly promoted chief coach, K. Dharmaraj doesn’t have a problem with that.
In fact, he sees it as a benefit to continue using the latter’s expertise until he leaves.
“He will join us for training today. I am sure his presence will benefit the players. I can use him as a consultant to the team. We will discuss the matter with him as he plans to stay on for the next three months,” said Dharmaraj.
Meanwhile, defenders Engku Abdul Malek and Azreen Rizal have withdrawn from the national hockey training squad.
Engku Abdul Malek withdrew after attending the week-long fitness session held earlier this month while Azreen pulled out on Friday.
Dharmaraj confirmed on Sunday that the two players had withdrawn from the team due to personal reasons.
With three players – Faizal Saari, S. Kumar, Mohamed Razie Rahim – playing in the Hockey India League, the training squad now have 30 players.
Dharmaraj, however, has no plans to replace the two players.
“I want to assess the other players in training before I include more players in the squad. I have several players in mind that I could call up,” he said.
The three players who Dharmaraj plans to call up are Mohamed Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Amir Farid, Hafifihafiz Hanafi.
Noor Faeez was initally selected, but decided against joining the team.
“Amir was not picked due to a drop in form while Hafifihafiz was injured. I will speak to all three first before making a decision.
“But it will all depend on my plans and whether there is a need for me to call up these players. All three are young and have a lot of potential,” he said.
A total of 35 players were selected by Paul Revington on Jan 16. Three days later, the South African quit the national team and Dharmaraj, who was earlier this month appointed as an assistant coach, was elevated to chief coach of the team.
Dharmaraj is now preparing the team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 13-23. The team’s priority this year is the Asian Games in South Korea in September.
But before that, Malaysia will be involved in the World Cup in Holland in May. The other two assignments are the FIH Champions Challenge I and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.