PETALING JAYA: Midfielder Fitri Saari is expected to make the final 25 of the national hockey team because of his experience and fine show at the recent Razak Cup.
But Fitri chooses to be cautious given the abundance of midfield talents in the present team.
Vying for the same position are Faiz Helmi Jali, Meor Muhammad Azuan Hassan, Mohd Ashran Hamsani, Nik Mohd Aiman Nik Rozemi, Mohd Fakhri Ardillah Abdullah, Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Shello Silverius, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Mohd Ramadan Rosli, Pavandip Singh and Mohd Faid Farhadh Mohd Shah.
The 27-year-old Fitri said some of the newbies like Pavandip, Fakhri and Shello have shown quality.
“The new boys have shown that they have what it takes to play in the international stage. Their intensity has been great, which is good for the development of our national team, ” said Fitri, who has 170 national caps to his name.
“I cannot take it easy even though I have played in the national team before. Every session is real hard work. Any lapses will be punished.
He admitted that it was different under new coach A. Arul Selvaraj.
“For seven months, I have not played for the national team. Things do feel different because we have a new coach and his methods are different, ” said Fitri.
“I will fight till the end to be in the 25. I’ve missed playing for the national team. So, the spirit is much higher now.”
The team are preparing for the Asian Champions Trophy next year.
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