KUALA LUMPUR: Goalkeeper Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri was raring to start training for the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, when the Covid-19 outbreak spoilt his plans.
The tournament, scheduled for April 11-18, has now been postponed to Sept 27-Oct 3.
And the national men, women and junior teams have stopped training at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil since March 16.
Following the movement control order (MCO) issued by the government effective from March 18 to 31 to curb the outbreak, Hazrul has to start training at home.
Terengganu-born Hazrul, who got married last August, is not complaining.
“I will just stay at home until March 31 and hopefully fewer people well get infected. The government is doing the best to control the outbreak, ” said Hazrul.
National coach Roelant Oltmans has given all the national players a training programme to be carried out at home.
“I am doing exercises like stretching, push-ups, squatting to maintain my stamina and fitness. Only thing is that we are not allowed to do is to go out of the house to jog and do sprints, ” said Hazrul.
“But it does not matter as I can now help my wife (Zulaika Atilla Zakaria) with the house chores. I also get to spend more time with her.
“I’m also helping my wife to cook and do other things together, ” added Hazrul, who was among 34 players called up by Oltmans.
Hazrul, who made his international debut in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2014, said that his main aim is to play for the national team again.
“I am 26 now and I can still play for Malaysia for another few years. And I don’t want to waste this opportunity, ” said Hazrul, who has played six times for Malaysia – the last time was during the playing tour to Japan in 2016.
And Hazrul, who played for Terengganu in the Malaysia Hockey League for the last four years, will face a challenge from three other goalkeepers for a place in the national squad.
They are Tenaga Nasional custodian Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman, Maybank’s Mohd Zaimi Mat Deris and Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s Adrian Albert.
Hairi is the one with more experience having featured in the World Cup in Bhubaneswar in 2018 and in the FIH World Series in Kuala Lumpur last May.
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