NATIONAL hockey team goalkeeper S. Kumar (pic) has joined the exclusive 300-capclub in style as he kept his second clean slate in the Indonesia Asiad.
The Tampin-born Kumar was barely tested as the Malaysians thrashed Bangladesh 7-0 in their third Group B match at the Gelora Bung Karno Hockey Stadium.
Malaysia, who dominated the match, scored through Mohd Razie Rahim (17th minute, 22nd), Mohd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad (27th), Faizal Saari (30th), Joel Van Huizen (37th), Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor (43rd) and Mohd Firhan Ashari (59th).
The most capped Malaysian hockey player is Azlan Misron with 350, followed by the late Chua Boon Huat (337), S. Kuhan (330), Nor Saiful Zaini (329) and Minarwan Nawawi (327).
Kumar is also now among the highest-capped goalkeepers in the world.
Pakistan’s 1994 World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed has 338 caps.
Kumar said he will continue to play for the national team as long as his services are needed.
“It’s not easy for a goalkeeper to reach 300 caps compared to outfield players. I have unofficially played in more than 300 matches and I’m glad to reach this milestone in my career,” said Kumar.
“This is a morale booster for me in the Asian Games, which we aim to win. I have made a lot of sacrifices and achieved a lot in the 20 years I have played for the team and I hope to continue giving my best to the team.”
Commenting on the win over minnows Bangladesh, Kumar said his teammates have done well and are looking forward to keeping the winning momentum going in the top-of-the-group clash against Pakistan tomorrow.
“In the first two games, I didn’t have any touches compared to this game and I know that I’m in good shape here. I also have been doing extra training even in the room to keep me on track.
“We have three wins in the group now and in the next game against Pakistan, we want to finish top of the group and get a good draw in the semi-finals.”
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