Need for speed in Hockey 5s but Nabil’s game for it

Back in the fray: Former international Nabil Fiqri Nor (right ) has been tasked to lead Malaysia at the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s tournament in Lausanne next month.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will be banking on former international Nabil Fiqri Nor and six players from the gold-medal winning squad of the 2018 Youth Olympics to mount a strong challenge in the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s tournament in Lausanne from June 4-6.

Nabil has regarded India, whom Malaysia beat to win the hockey 5s gold in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, as the team to beat.

Besides Malaysia and India, the Lausanne tournament will feature Pakistan, hosts Switzerland and Poland in a round-robin format.

Nabil, who has played 239 times for the Malaysian Tigers, is looking forward to playing his role in the new format.

“The 5s game is so fast and I’m excited to play in this tournament. I believe India are the toughest team in the tournament as they are quite experienced,” said Nabil.

“But we should not underestimate Switzerland who have homeground advantage.”

The Youth Olympics players who have been shortlisted for the FIH Hockey 5s are goalkeeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi, Alfarico Lance Liau, Akhimullah Anuar, Noor Firdaus Rosdi, Mohd Muhibuddin Moharam and Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin.

Head coach Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi does not want to put too much pressure on the team and will be focusing on one match at a time.

“We will try our best to collect three points from every match and try to finish as high as we can,” said Megat Azrafiq.

“We will not be playing in any friendly match as we will only arrive on June 2. We will have two training sessions to adapt to the pitch. It will be a dry pitch where water will not be sprayed like hockey 11s.”

Malaysia will play Switzerland and Poland on June 4 before meeting India and Pakistan on June 5.

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