Azlan looking to break hockey milestone

KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey captain Azlan Misron turned 31 on Wednesday with one wish: to make history in the World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

Azlan is currently the most capped player in the national team – 336 caps – since making his international debut in 2002.

But he wants to break the record of former national skipper S. Kuhan, who played 341 times for Malaysia.

If Azlan plays in all six matches in the World Cup, he will pip Kuhan by one cap.

Azlan, the father of two children, will be featuring in the World Cup for the first time despite having donned national colours for the last 12 years.

“I’m looking forward to featuring in the World Cup as this could be my first and last ... after all, I turned 31 today,” said Azlan, who was made captain by national chief coach K. Dharmaraj this year.

Azlan said that while it would be great to become the most capped player in the country, “what is more important to me is giving my best in the World Cup”.

“I will shoulder a big responsibility in the World Cup as the captain and I don’t want to be a laughing stock. We will start as underdogs as we are the lowest ranked team – at No. 12 – in the World Cup. We will be featuring in the World Cup after a 12-year absence but we should not feel intimidated.

“We should go all out and create a few upsets despite playing against formidable teams like Australia, England, Belgium, India and Spain.”

Azlan said that they are all “physically and mentally” ready for the World Cup, despite the rather shaky backline.

“With the return of top defender Mohd Razie (Abdul Rahim), our backline will be much stronger for the World Cup.

“We promise to give our best in the World Cup and will not let our Malaysian fans down,” said Azlan, who will marshall the defence with Kevin Lim, Razie, Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib and Faiz Helmi Jali.

The national team will leave for The Hague on Thursday and play three friendlies against Holland on May 25 and two clubs sides on May 27 and May 29. 

They’ll kick off their World Cup campaign against defending champions Australia on May 31.

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