Veteran Nabil can inspire youngsters to hit right note


PETALING JAYA: Nabil Fiqri Noor (pic) will enter a new chapter in his career as he leads a young Malaysian team to the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s but it will not be a vacation in Lausanne.

Nabil, who has been entrusted with the captaincy by the Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) due to his vast experience as a member of the Speedy Tigers, said the target is to reach the final in the three-day event starting on Saturday.

Malaysia will have favourites India, Pakistan, hosts Switzerland and Poland for company where the top two teams will contest the final after the round-robin stage on June 6.

Nabil, who has featured 239 times for the Tigers, said the tournament will be an open affair as this is the first time a global Hockey 5s event is being staged.

“Our target in the tournament is to make it to the final. India are an established side and Pakistan are also playing.

“It is a fairly new format and gives everyone an equal chance of winning it,” said Nabil.

“This is my first tournament under the format. It is fast and we can use the perimeter boards when playing.

“Switzerland are probably the only team with some advantage as they would have been practising regularly on the competition pitch. We will be happy if we can get some practice time before the tournament.

“My experience is probably the reason why I was selected to lead this team and I will do whatever I can to give us a head start in this format.”

Nabil will receive the support of six players who starred in Malaysia’s gold-medal winning performance in the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

Akhimullah Anuar scored 22 goals at the Youth Olympics where Malaysia defeated India 4-2 in the final.

“The majority of the players in the team have the experience of playing in the Youth Olympics but we cannot take things for granted as that was four years ago,” added Nabil.

The other Youth Olympics players who are in the squad in Lausanne are goalkeeper Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi, Alfarico Lance Liau, Noor Firdaus Rosdi, Mohd Muhibuddin Moharam and Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin.

The presence of Nabil, one of the select few who have the distinction of winning silver medals in the Asian Games (2010 and 2018) and the Asia Cup (2017), is likely to inspire the youngsters to hit it right in the new format.

FIXTURES

SATURDAY

MALAYSIA vs SWITZERLAND (6.30pm)

MALAYSIA vs POLAND (10pm)

SUNDAY

MALAYSIA vs INDIA (7pm)

MALAYSIA vs PAKISTAN (10pm)

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Nabil Fiqri Noor , FIH Hockey 5s , Lausanne

   

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