KUALA LUMPUR: S. Kumar (pic) dealt a big blow to the national men’s hockey team as he has been ruled out of action for two months after suffering a muscle tear in his right thigh.
The Tenaga Nasional employee said he had a 7.5cm tear in his thigh, suffered during the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) match against TNB Thunderbolt last Friday, after he went for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan yesterday.
“I cannot do any movement with my right leg for the next two weeks. I have been advised by the doctor to rest for two months,” said Kumar.
The 39-year-old Kumar blamed his injury to the tight playing schedule.
“I hardly get any rest as I have to train on Mondays and Tuesdays with the national team, and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with my club,” said Kumar. “On Fridays and Sundays, I have to play matches in the MHL.
“Even the younger national players are also complaining of the tight schedule.
“It is a blow to me as I won’t be able to play for Tenaga anymore in the ongoing MHL,” added Kumar, who helped Tenaga to win the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup last month.
The goalkeeper has been ruled out of the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 23-30.
The injury also casts a shadow on his participation in the World Series at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from April 26-May 5.
Kumar did not feature in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last year as he was serving a six-month suspension after testing positive for sibutramine after the group match against Oman in the Asia Cup hockey tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2017.
Kumar, who was named as Asia’s best player in 2010, played in the Asian Games in Jakarta last August, where Malaysia finished as runners-up to Japan.
Kumar, who has represented Malaysia 310 times since 1999, is keeping his fingers crossed that he can recover in time for the World Series, which is the qualifying tournament for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In Kumar’s absence, Tenaga will be banking on 18-year-old keeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi in the MHL.
Che Shahrul played a big part in helping Malaysia win their first ever gold medal in the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year.
As for the national team, there are three keepers in the training team to replace Kumar. They are Hairi Abdul Rahman, Muhd Hafizuddin Othman and Muhd Zaimi Mat Deris.
Hairi was the reserve keeper in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, last December.
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