PETALING JAYA: Forward Faizal Saari has urged his brother Fitri (pic) to pull up his socks and regain his place in the national hockey team.
The 29-year-old Faizal and his midfielder brother, who is two years younger, had been playing together for several years in the national team.Earlier this year, Fitri and Faizal were dropped by previous coach Roelant Oltmans but both were recalled when A. Arulselvaraj took over to prepare a team for the Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in Bangladesh next year in March.
However, Fitri, who had 170 caps to his name, was dropped by Arul for the second phase of training.
Faizal said it was awkward not to have his brother around but believes Fitri would make a comeback next year.
“I was a little shocked – to be honest. We are so used to playing with each other in the national team and so when he was dropped, I was a bit upset but I understand the reason behind it, ” said Faizal.
“I advises him not to give up as I believe he has much to give to the national team. His best chance to prove that he merits a place in the team is to give his best in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) next year.
“We will be playing for Terengganu in the MHL next year. He knows what is needed and I believe my brother will make a strong comeback.”
Faizal is currently warming up to rigourous training regime.
“Although the training sessions have been short due to the conditional movement control order in the Klang Valley, it has been good intensive one-hour sessions every day, ” he said.