PETALING JAYA: Terengganu’s attack in the Razak Cup will be considerably weakened following the withdrawal of striker Firhan Ashaari (pic).
The 27-year-old national player has decided to pull out following the death of his two-year-old daughter Nur Ayra Delisha on Sunday.
Terengganu’s other striker Faizal Saari said the players were also affected by the death of Firhan’s daughter and they respect his decision to withdraw. Nur Ayra died at the hospital after suffering a seizure.
Faizal said the team would miss Firhan.
“Our preparation has been okay, but his pullout has affected us but we understand the decision made by him, ” said Faizal.
“We will do something for Firhan and his family. We will give our best in this tournament, and winning it for him.”
The team have national players such as striker Akhimullah Annuar Esook, defender Luqman Nul Hakim Ahmad Shukran and midfielder Nik Muhd Aiman Nik Rozemi in the squad which will be coached by former international Tai Beng Hai.
For Faizal, he has no problems teaming up with Beng Hai as they had worked together in the national team and also during their junior days.
“We have a good squad capable of challenging for the title. We have young players in the team who are eager to show that they have what it takes to be the best in the nation.
“I have worked under Beng Hai before, so I know what he wants from the team.”
Faizal, who was not selected for the centralised national camp earlier this year, knows that a good outing in the Razak Cup could earn him a spot in the national team coached by S. Arul Selvaraj.
“I met him, and we had a normal chat. He asked about my fitness level and what he wants for the national team.
“I know I have to perform in the Razak Cup. I would be proud if I’m selected. Furthermore, I know I can contribute more for the national team, ” said the 29-year-old Faizal.
Unlike previous seasons, this year’s Razak Cup tournament starting today will be played in a single division format, separated into four groups, without age restrictions and the competition will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
National players were barred from taking part last year, and each team had to register four Under-21 players.
A total of 15 teams have registered for the tournament with Sabah making a return after a four-year lapse while Sarawak opted to stay out.
Terengganu are in Group C with Armed Forces, Police and Kelantan.
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