PETALING JAYA: When national striker Faizal Saari saw Belgium win the Olympics hockey gold recently, he was left enthralled.
So much so that it also reminded him that a little over 10 years ago, Malaysia were actually on par with the Europeans, who were still developing as a hockey nation.
And how far they have come, after a decade of thorough development and planning.
The 30-year-old Faizal is so impressed with the evolution of Belgium as a hockey powerhouse that he believes Malaysia should take a leaf out of their book.
“Belgium are a good example. Their development has been immense, and you can see the results.
“Getting gold is not easy, and they planned really well for it. You can see their quality and performance – it has changed,” Faizal said.
“We must learn from them, what they have done all these years. We have a development programme now, and we can use Belgium as a model to help elevate our game.”
On the national squad, Faizal said all the players are eager to get back to training and games, but they have to adhere to the regulations set by the government.
“Our spirit remains high even though we have to train at our respective homes for now. We can’t wait to return to the field again.”