The longest serving player in the national team.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian forward Chua Boon Huat holds the distinction of being the most capped player among the 144 players from the eight teams who will feature in the World League semi-finals, which begins in Johor Baru on Saturday.
The 33-year-old is the longest serving player in the national team, having represented the national team since the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games and has accumulated 331 caps.
Though proud of his achievement, Boon Huat is more concerned about what he can bring to the team than personal glory.
His main target, he said, was to help Malaysia qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland.
“We’re playing well under coach Paul (Revington) and we promise all our fans that we will give our best in Johor Baru. We hope that with the home ground advantage and the strong support of the fans, we can be third time lucky and qualify for the World Cup,” said Boon Huat, who was recalled to the national team by the South African coach after a three-year hiatus.
Some have questioned Revington’s wisdom in recalling Boon Huat.
And the player intends to show those who think he’s past his prime that he can still do the job despite his age. “I have the experience and skill to play in any position .. be it defence, midfield or as a striker,” said Boon Huat.
“We also have other experienced forwards who will surely rise to the occasion to help Malaysia qualify for next year’s World Cup.”
The other forwards in the national team are Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Faizal Saari, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin and Mohd Firhan Ashaari.
Malaysia lost 5-2 to Argentina in a friendly on Tuesday. Both the Malaysian goals came from defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim’s penalty corner flicks.
Malaysia played another friendly against Germany yesterday before opening their Group B campaign against Pakistan on Saturday.
Their other group matches are against South Africa on Sunday and England on June 2.
The teams in Group A are Germany, South Korea, Argentina and Japan.
All the eight teams will feature in the quarter-finals on June 4. The semi-finals are on June 6 and the final is on June 7.
Only the top three teams will qualify for the World Cup.
Boon Huat said that the most important match of the tournament would be the quarter-finals.
“We have to win our quarter-final match if we are to keep our hopes alive for the World Cup,” he said.