PETALING JAYA: National hockey player Faizal Saari has offered a heartfelt apology just days after Malaysia pulled out from the Asian Champions Trophy.
The player, fondly known as Peja, revealed that he was the player who was confirmed with Covid-19 that caused the entire team to be home quarantined ahead of the tournament starting on Dec 14 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The team were supposed to leave for Dhaka yesterday.
The striker was confirmed positive on Dec 8 but did not show any symptoms. This is not the first time that Faizal has been tested Covid-19 positive. On Feb 23, he also tested positive but was asymptomatic.
The 30-year-old accepted responsibility for causing the pullout and said sorry to all the players, who had to be on mandatory quarantine.
“Firstly, I want to apologise to the team and the national team management, especially Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal and all those involved,” said a dejected Faizal.
“I am sorry for putting them in this situation. The team can’t compete in the Asian Champions Trophy because of me.
“I did not want this to happen, but it has happened, so I will take responsibility. I just feel bad that we couldn’t go to Bangladesh after months of hard work and preparation under our coach (A. Arulselvaraj).
“I did my level best to follow all the standard operating procedures, but I still contracted it. There were no symptoms at all. I don’t know where I got it from.
“I am going through a 10-day mandatory quarantine before doing another test. I hope the next test will be fine. Again, I want to apologise to everyone for what has happened.”
On Saturday, the MHC said the decision to pull out was made after consultations with the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian authorities responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, the national women’s team also had to pull out of the Asian Champions Trophy in South Korea after three players were tested positive for Covid-19. It was worst for the women players as they had already travelled to South Korea.