KUALA LUMPUR: National women’s hockey goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya got off to a brilliant start with English top club East Grindstead.
The 29-year-old police inspector from Bukit Aman is the first national woman to play in the England Hockey League.
She made her debut in their 2-1 win against Beeston on Saturday.
Farah, who has represented Malaysia 160 times over the last 10 years, said she considered herself lucky to play for East Grindstead.
“I played the full game of 70 minutes (35 minutes each half) and I did well to make a number of saves to help my club collect points. I feel proud and it was a good start for me,” said Farah.
“It’s a great experience playing in the English league as they play a fast attacking game and I have to be on my toes to stop every attempt from my opponents.”
Farah’s tie-up with the England’s top club did not come as a surprise – after all, she was named the best goalkeeper in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae City, South Korea, in May and won the same award at the World League Round Two in Singapore in 2016.
Farah hoped she would feature regularly as the main keeper for her club.
“I want to gain as much experience as I can. I will use it as part of my preparation for the World Series.
“I will return to play for Malaysia in this tournament, which is the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Farah.
There are seven others playing in the European leagues. They are Nuraini Rashid and Fatin Syafika Sukri (Italian club Butterfly Roma); Hanis Nadiah Onn, Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti (German club Wespen Zehlendorfer); Raja Norsharina Raja Shahbuddin, Surizan Awang Noh and Noraslinda Said (Scottish Uddingston Club).