Faizal Saari (left) in action during the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament in Kuantan in May. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Faizal Saari is on the verge of quitting the national hockey team.
On Friday night, he posted on Instagram that he was fed-up and wanted to quit the team.
When contacted yesterday, Faizal said he would only decide on his future after a meeting with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) officials today.
“I don’t want to say anything for now. I am meeting with MHC officials tomorrow (today) and tell them about my intention. I have not sent in any official letter. I have been thinking about it (quitting) for the last few days,” he said.
Faizal, 21, was a member of the Junior World Cup team who finished fourth in New Delhi in December.
He is also a regular in the national team for the last three years. In 2013 and 2014, he was also picked by the MHC to play in the Indian Hockey League as well as the leagues in Australia and Germany.
National coach K. Dharmaraj said he had heard rumours of Faizal wanting to quit the team.
“I am unable to say anything as there is nothing official about it. I really have no idea what’s happening. It is better to wait as it may just be a rumour after all.
“We have a major assignment in the Asian Games (in South Korea from Sept 19-Oct 4) and I want the players to stay focused to achieve our target,” he added.
Faizal was one of Dharmaraj’s key players during his time with the Project 2013 team.
Dharmaraj is now preparing the team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow from July 23-Aug 3.
Meanwhile, two players from the World Cup squad have withdrawn from the hockey team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 3.
Forward Mohamed Firhan Azhaari injured his ankle in training and is not expected to recover in time for the Games while youngster Fitri Saari cited exhaustion as his reason for pulling out of the squad.
Dharmaraj have called up former national juniors players Izad Sumantri and Haziq Shamsul as their replacements.
“Firhan and Fitri will remain part of our training squad and will be considered for the Incheon Asian Games (in South Korea from Sept 19-Oct 4).
“‘Firhan’s injury is not that serious. He should recover in time for the Asiad. Fitri has been playing non-stop since making the cut for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March. He was also a member of the team that played in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December last year.
“Fitri’s request for a rest is reasonable. As for Izad and Haziq, I believe they can get some valuable exposure in Glasgow,” said Dharmaraj.
The team will leave for Glasgow on Thursday.
The MHC named their Commonwealth Games team last Tuesday, but only picked six players from the World Cup squad that finished last in the 12-team affair in The Hague, Holland, last month.
In Glasgow, Malaysia are in Group B with Canada, England, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago. Group A consists of Australia, India, Wales, Scotland and South Africa.