KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey defender Faiz Helmi Jali said the two-week extension under the movement control order (MCO) is a blessing in disguise.
The first MCO is from March 18 to 31. On Thursday, the government decided to extend the period until April 14.
And this means Faiz will get the chance to spend more time with his wife Nur Amirah Abu Samah and his second child, a baby boy, born on March 13.
The 28-year-old Faiz, who already has a two-year-old daughter Nur Alya Farisha, named his son Farish Aqasha.
Faiz, who made his international debut in the Champions Challenge 2 in Buenos Aires in 2012, said that he is proud to be father of a baby boy.
“And I thank God that both my wife and son are in good health. I have a complete family as I have a daughter and a son.
“I hope my son will follow in my footsteps to be a sportsman like me. I will be happy if he becomes a hockey player, ” said Faiz, who lives in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.
Faiz, who is captain of Tenaga Nasional in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which ended last month, added that the two-week extension is a blessing.
“I can spend more time with my family. Previously, I was busy with my twice-a-day training at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.
“Now, I take care of my son and at the same time do push-ups, stretching and squatting at home to maintain my fitness level, ” said the pint-sized defender, who stands at just 1.54m (5’1”) and has represented Malaysia 175 times since 2012.
Despite his diminutive stature, Faiz has the speed and ability to outsmart bigger and taller players.
That has seen him feature in two World Cups – The Hague, Holland in 2014 and Bhubaneswar, India, in 2018.
The experienced and hardy defender is among 34 players called up by national coach Roelant Oltmans for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from Sept 27 to Oct 3.
Faiz, who helped Malaysia win the silver medal in the Indonesian Asian Games in 2018, said he hopes to play for Malaysia as long as he can.
“I have never featured in the Olympics and I hope to do so before I retire. I want to help Malaysia qualify for the next Olympics in Paris in 2024, ” said Faiz, who last played for the national team in the two Olympic playoff matches against Britain in London last November.
Malaysia lost 9-3 on aggregate to Britain in the two matches and failed to qualify for the 2020 Games. Malaysia last played in the Olympics in the 2000 Sydney edition.
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