PETALING JAYA: For almost a year, national hockey player Firhan Ashari (pic) has not had much competitive action.
When it was announced that the Razak Cup would be held from Sept 18-26 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, the striker could not contain his excitement.
The 27-year-old, who underwent surgery on his left knee last year, had to skip the Malaysia Hockey League this season as he was still undergoing rehabilitation.
Now that he is back to full fitness, the prospect of playing for his state Terengganu excites him as he cannot wait to show his predatory skills in the semi-circle.
“To be honest, I can’t wait for the tournament to start. I can even say that I’m feeling a little impatient at the moment, ” said the feisty player.
“The last time I played in the Razak Cup was in 2018. I was delighted when it was announced that national players are allowed to take part.
“I think it’s a good decision to have national players as it would increase the quality of the competition. It also creates more excitement.
“I have two Razak Cup titles with Terengganu and hopefully, I can get a third.
“Honestly, after months without any action, the tournament would be a good platform for us to regain our form and prove to the selectors that we deserve a spot in the national team.”
Even though he had suffered a knee injury, national coach Roelant Oltmans still picked Firhan for a training camp in February. Unfortunately it was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He returned to the squad last month and admitted that he had to initially take it easy due to his injury.
However, he is beginning to find his groove and is not feeling any discomfort in his knee.
Firhan has 185 international caps since making his debut in the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China in 2012.
He featured in two World Cups – in The Hague in 2014 and in India in 2018 – and was in the silver-medal winning team at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
He last played for the country in the FIH World Series where Malaysia lost 1-0 to Canada in the final.