Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim (right) in a file photo. He dislocated his shoulder during an Indian Hockey League match between Dabur Mumbai Magicians and Ranchi Rhino.
KUALA LUMPUR: Penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim needs more than two months to recover from the shoulder injury he suffered in the India Hockey League.
The 26-year-old defender, who featured for Dabur Mumbai Magicians, dislocated his shoulder in the Feb 8 match against Ranchi Rhino.
National chief coach K. Dharmaraj said that it is a great blow to the national team as their main penalty corner flicker and sweeper would miss two tournaments – the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 13-23 and the Champions Challenge I tournament in Kuantan from April 26-May 4.
“Razie has been advised to rest for more than two months to fully recover from the injury. I hope that he will recover in time for the World Cup (in The Hague from May 31-June 15).
“He is the most hardworking player in the team and we need his services badly for the World Cup as we will be playing against top 12 ranked teams,” said Dharmaraj.
Malaysia last played in the World Cup in 2002 when Kuala Lumpur played host.
Twelve teams will feature in the World Cup and Malaysia are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 13.
“I want to name the best possible team for the World Cup as we will face a strong challenge in the tournament,” said Dharmaraj.
Malaysia, who are ranked 13th in the world, will open their World Cup campaign against world champions Australia on May 31.
Their other Group A matches are against world No. 5 Belgium (on June 2), world No. 4 England (June 5), world No. 10 India (June 7) and world No. 9 Spain (June 9).
Olympic champions and world No. 2 Germany are drawn in Group B with Holland (No. 3), New Zealand (No. 6), South Korea (No. 7), Argentina (No. 11) and South Africa (No. 12).
The semi-finals are slated for June 13 and the final is on June 15.
Dharmaraj said that in the absence of Razie, he would rely on forward Faizal Saari, who is also playing for Mumbai Magicians, to deliver goals from penalty corners.
The 23-year-old Faizal is the second penalty corner flicker in the national team. He was joint top scorer with India’s Rupinder Pal Singh in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last year, where he scored six goals for Malaysia.