Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri will get a chance to prove himself at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Hafizuddin Othman and Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, the two first choice goalkeepers in the Malaysian squad at last year’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi will make their senior team debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.
Malaysia’s senior goalkeepers S. Kumar and Roslan Jamaluddin are nursing injuries and have been ruled out of the Ipoh tournament which starts on Thursday.
Team manager George Koshy confirmed that Hafizuddin and Hazrul have been named in the 18-member squad.
“We have to go with the two juniors as the senior goalkeepers are injured. This is the best time to find out if they are ready to make the transition from the junior ranks to the seniors. Our objective is to ensure all players in the training squad get a chance to play some matches and prove their worth.
“All our training stints are targeted towards the World Cup in June and the Asian Games in September,” he said.
Hafizuddin and Hazrul were in the team who went on a tour to Perth earlier this month.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is the first of five major assignments that await the senior team this year. Besides the World Cup and the Asian Games, there is also the Champions Challenge I in April and the Commonwealth Games in July.
The crock list extends beyond the goalkeepers as defender Mohamed Razie Rahim, forward Ismail Abu and midfielder Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor are also injured and will not feature in Ipoh.
George said except for Razie, all the others will be ready to vie for a spot in the Champions Challenge I which will be held in Kuantan.
Initially 35 players have been named for the training squad, but Azreen Rizal, Engku Abdul Malek, Harvinder Singh and Syamim Yusof later withdrew for various reasons.
Another player, Mohamed Azammi Adabi, was dropped after the Perth tour.
George added that the 18 players for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup would be finalised on Tuesday night after Malaysia play China and Australia in friendly matches.
“We will play both teams back to back today (Tuesday). That will be the final selection ground. We have a big squad of 25 which allows us to rotate the players for the two matches,” he said.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is a six-nation affair with China, Australia, Canada, South Korea and South Africa in the fray.