It only ended in heartbreak. She was not picked in the Games squad.
Seasoned campaigner Farah Ayuni Yahya and Siti Rozailah Syuhada Jilon featured as Malaysia went on to win the gold medal.
But Siti Zalia is ready to jump at a second chance that has been offered to her. She has been called up for training for the Junior Asia Cup and, this time, she wants to make it count.Siti Zalia, who will turn 19 on Nov 1, said that things had looked good for her when she earned her first cap for Malaysia in the Asia Cup in Chonburi, Thailand.
“It was a dream come true for me and I was looking forward to going to the SEA Games but I was disheartened when I was dropped,” said Siti Zalia who took weeks to overcome the disappointment.
“It was a blow to my hockey career as I want to continue playing for the country. I learned a bitter lesson.
“I was also frustrated as I was supposed to start my diploma in sports management and recreation at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) at Puncak Jalil in June last year but I took a semester off to train for the Asia Cup and SEA Games,” said Siti Zalia who took up hockey when she was 11.
“However, I wasted one full semester as I was not included for the SEA Games. I take it as a challenge for me.
“I will not give up hope of fighting for my place. I just need to train harder and I was glad to be called up for training in March for the Junior Asia Cup in Kakamigahara, Japan in April. But the tournament was postponed.
“We (the national juniors team) are expected to start our training by this month and my mission is to impress national coach Lailin (Abu Hasan) to win a place for the Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifying tournament for the Junior World Cup (in Potchefstroom, South Africa next year),” said Siti Zalia, who will face a challenge from two other goalkeepers for a place in the team.
The two are Siti Mardiana Ahmad and Mashitah Abdul Khalid.
But Siti Zalia, who idolises Farah, said she was ready for the challenge.
“Farah is the country’s top woman goalkeeper but I want to become better than her. My mission is to be the national No. 1 goalkeeper in four years time,” said Siti Zalia.
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