KUALA LUMPUR: Defender Mohd Razie Rahim reckons that the national hockey team need to play more matches against quality opponents “if we are to improve”.
Razie, who top scored with five goals for Malaysia in the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in London, said that although the team had improved a lot in the past year, “our lack of international exposure” was evident in London.
“We may have finished fourth in London but, when we faced the bigger teams, there was something missing in our game.
“It is important that we learn for this and ensure we are able to match the stronger teams. That can only happen if we play against these teams regularly. I’m sure the coaches and officials will work on this aspect,” said Razie, who was also satisfied with his performance in London.
“We played our guts out and we need to keep that spirit going. There are other battles waiting for us and I want us to also make the cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That is very important and we must hard for it.
“The (Jakarta) Asian Games next year will offer us that chance, so let’s work towards it. The World Cup is some time away (December, 2018), so we still have the time to prepare for it.”
Razie, 29, also called on the other seniors who played in London to stay on and help guide the juniors in the team.
The other seniors included skipper Mohd Shukri Mutalib, 31; S. Kumar, 37; Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, 31; Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, 30; and Mohd Marhan Jalil, 27.
“Some are already approaching 30 while others are already in that bracket. But I do believe that we can go on. As long as we are able to train fully, there is no reason to quit just year,” said Razie.
The team will now take a break and return in two weeks’ time to prepare for the Asian Cup in Dhaka in October.