PETALING JAYA: Since making his Razak Cup debut in 2016, Shello Silverius has always dreamt of playing for his state, Sabah.
He first played for Kedah in 2016 edition, and moved to Police in 2017. From 2018, he played for Johor under the tutelage of coach Sarjit Singh. This year, his dream has come true.
Sabah have confirmed their participation in the Razak Cup, making a return after a four-year lapse.
For Shello, 21, donning his state colours means the world to him. The Keningau-born midfielder feels it is time to show that Sabah is capable of playing good hockey and being one of the top hockey states in Malaysia.
“It is a different feeling when you play for your state. When it was confirmed that Sabah was taking part, I could not contain my joy, ” said Shello, the first player from the state to captain the national junior team in the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.
“For me, I am not having high expectations because this is our first tournament after four years. But, one thing is for sure, all the players will surely give their best for the state.
“Also, this edition will see all teams in one division. It will be an open affair and we have to be on our toes. I believe we have a squad capable of challenging fancied sides like Perak, Melaka and Terengganu in the division.”
This year’s Razak Cup tournament will be played in a single division format at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 18 to 26.
Shello said 90% of the squad will comprise the Sabah players who won the Sukma gold in 2018. He was the captain of that side that beat Pahang 4-2 on penalties in the final, after a 1-1 draw.
The national players who will play for Sabah are Shello, goalkeeper Adrian Andy Albert and midfielder Abdul Khaliq Hamirin.
“Even after the 2018 Sukma, the players went on to play in states like Kuala Lumpur and Johor. So, I am not too worried about their performance level.
“As for chemistry, it is still there. We will use the gold medal effort in Ipoh as an inspiration, ” he said.