No hands up: Keeper Hafizuddin vows to regain national spot


KUALA LUMPUR: Experienced hockey goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman (pic) has vowed to reclaim his place after he was dropped from the national team last week.

And he aims to win back the selectors’ trust when he turns out for Terengganu in the Razak Cup tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 20-28.

The 27-year-old Hafizuddin, who has played for Malaysia since 2016, said he is disappointed he will not feature in the Tokyo Olympics playoff matches against Britain on Nov 1 and 3 in London.

“My exclusion was a bitter pill to swallow as I was looking forward to the playoffs but that’s life. Maybe, I was not good enough.

“I guess it was also a lesson for me that I cannot take anything for granted. I aim to work harder and perform well in local tournaments to be part of the national team again,” said Hafizuddin, who last played for Malaysia in a four-nation tournament in Tokyo last month.

Hafizuddin, who has 60 international caps, said that he would now focus on helping Terengganu win the Razak Cup.

He was between the posts when they won the title in Kuantan (2012) and Kuala Lumpur (2016).

“For this year’s tournament, we will not have the services of the Saari brothers (Faizal and Fitri) who will be playing in the playoffs.

“Their absence will, in a way, affect our performance as they are top players. But we have a few seniors and juniors that are good enough to give the other teams a run for their money,” he added.

Terengganu will be banking on national forward Muhd Akhimullah Anuar Esook, who scored three goals during Malaysia’s playing tour of Europe in July.

The team will be led by former international Mohd Shahrun Nabil.

Eight teams will feature in Division One and Terengganu are drawn in Group B with Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang while Group A will have defending champions Perak, Melaka, Johor and Police.

Terengganu open their campaign against Kuala Lumpur on Sept 21.


   

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