Akhimullah’s appetite for goals get bigger after tour in Europe

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Muhd Akhimullah Anuar Esook (pic) has made a name for himself in the playing tour to Europe.

The 19-year-old forward from Kuala Terengganu netted three field goals in nine matches against the region’s top hockey-playing countries. He scored a goal against Spain to help Malaysia win 4-3 in a four-nation tournament in Barcelona last week.

Against world No. 3 Holland, the Tenaga Nasional player hit a brace although Malaysia lost 6-2.

Akhimullah said that the European stint was a valuable experience.

“It feels really good to score twice against Holland. They’re really a top team as they finished runners-up in the World Cup (in Bhubaneswar, India, last December).

“I’m also glad that I’ve found my scoring touch there. But I need to be more clinical in my finishing as I only scored in two of the nine matches that I played, ” said Akhimullah, who arrived home on Tuesday.

There will be no rest for Akhimullah as he is among 18 players headed for a four-nation competition in Tokyo which starts on Saturday.

Apart from Malaysia, the other teams in the fray are hosts Japan, India and New Zealand.

“My aim in Tokyo is to score more and be in the running for a place in the squad for the Tokyo Olympic playoff matches in October, ” added Akhimullah, who made his international debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in March.

Akhimullah also played at the FIH Series Finals in Bukit Jalil in April, where Malaysia finished runners-up to Canada but failed to get his name on the score sheet.Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Muhd Hafizuddin Othman.

Defenders: Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Faiz Helmi Jali, Syed Mohd Syafiq Syed Cholan, Mohd Najmi Farizal Jazlan, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Luqman Nul Hakim Ahmad Shukran.

Midfielders: Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Nik Muhd Aiman Nik Rozemi, Meor Muhd Azuan Hasan, Mohd Ashran Hamsani, Muhd Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal, Muhd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad

Forwards: Norshafiq Sumantri, Muhd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Noor Firdaus Rosdi, Mohd Akhimullah Anuar Esook.

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