Not a cut too deep for Rashid

KUALA LUMPUR: He missed the cut to the Malaysian team that won the Junior Asia Cup in 2012. It was really painful and made Rashid Baharom determined not to miss any more cuts.

The Penang-born player finally made it this time, making the final squad to the Junior World Cup in New Delhi from Dec 6-15. Rashid is also a member of the senior training team.

Rashid said he was disappointed at being left out of the team for the Junior Asia Cup, which was held in Malacca and won by Malaysia.

“I lost my place to Dedy Aryadi. But that only increased my resolve to make the team to New Delhi. It made me train harder. And now I hope to ensure that I get as much playing time as possible in the team,” said the 21-year-old forward who plays for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in both the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

“I always had it in the back of my mind that one day I will represent the nation in hockey and this selection to the Junior World Cup further fuels my hunger to make it to the senior side,” he added.

Rashid started his hockey career at Sekolah Rendah Hashim Awam in Kepala Batas. He later moved to the Bukit Jalil Sports School until Form 4 before trekking up north again to finish his secondary education at SMK Mutiara Impian.

He was a member of all the three Sultan of Johor Cup teams. Malaysia won the title in the inaugural meet in 2011 and were runners-up in this year’s competition.

Rashid believes Malaysia will do well in the Junior World Cup.

“It is vital that we make the last eight and that is our main focus at the moment. It will not be easy as New Zealand and England are formidable sides and we also cannot under-estimate South Africa. The Sultan of Johor Cup has shown us that the teams at junior level are very unpredictable.

“But the experience will help us to get through the first round,” said Rashid.

He added that the players in the team would go all out in all the matches.

“We want to do well and as such we must be on our toes in all the matches. We have a top six target and that is the aim of the team,” he said.

The Malaysians will leave for New Delhi on Sunday. They will play a friendly with Germany on Tuesday.
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