Hockey goalie Farah’s English experience will come in handy


  • Hockey
  • Monday, 20 May 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Hockey goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya (pic) says her England stint will come in handy at the FIH Series Finals in Dublin, Ireland, from June 8-16.

The 30-year-old played 20 matches for East Grindstead in the English League from September to November last year and from February until last month.

Farah, who has represented Malaysia for a decade, said the experience will stand her in good stead to face the Finals challenge which is a qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The women’s team have never featured in the Olympics.

The Bukit Aman police inspector said that playing in the league has made her more confident between the posts.

“The standard is very high compared to our league and it’s played at a fast tempo. It has taught me to stay alert throughout the match,” said Farah, who has 120 caps.

“You can’t afford to make the slightest mistake as the forwards there really hit the ballhard towards goal and they’re also quick to pounce if the ball bounces off the keeper’s pads,” added Farah, who was named the best goalkeeper at the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae City, South Korea, last year.

She also won the same award at the World League Round Two in Singapore in 2016.

Farah will be among 20 players heading to Europe on Thursday to play five friendlies in preparation for the Finals.

Eight teams will feature in tournament and Malaysia are drawn in Group A with Czech Republic, Singapore and Ireland, who were runners-up to Holland in the World Cup last year.

Group B comprises South Korea, France, Scotland and Ukraine.

Malaysia are aiming to finish in the top two to qualify for the playoff in October.

Farah, who said their strongest challenge will come from the Czech Republic and Ireland, will think about her future after the Finals.

“I’m already 30 and I will decide after the tournament whether to continue playing for the country,” added Farah, who is still single.

National coach K. Dharmaraj will use the friendlies to name his final squad of 18 for the Finals.

EUROPEAN TOUR SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Farah Ayuni Yahya, Mas Huzaimah Mohd Aziz

Defenders: Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani, Julaini Mohamad Din, Nuraini Abdul Rashid, Raja Norsharina Raja Shahbuddin, Nurul Syafiqah Mat Isa, Noor Hasliza Mohd Ali.

Midfielders: Fatin Shafika Mohd Sukri, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Wan Norfaiezah Mohd Saiuti, Surizan Awang Noh, Nuraslinda Said, Kirandeep Kaur

Forwards: Hanis Nadiah Onn, Norazlin Sumantri, Nur Zafirah Aziz, Nur Maizatulhanim Syafi Syeik Faud, Nur Amirah Shakirah Zulkifli, Siti Zulaikha Husain.

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