KUALA LUMPUR: There was nothing sinister in the inclusion of forward Ismail Abu in the national senior hockey team despite his earlier exclusion from the junior side.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), who completed their investigations into the case following claims that the player had been victimised by being named to the senior team, found nothing wrong with the team management's decision. Ismail's inclusion in the senior team means he cannot play in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League next month.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said yesterday that Ismail was dropped from the Under-19 team as he had not attended training on a regular basis. The Under-19 squad will play in the MHF Under-19 invitational tournament starting at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.
“We have been told that Ismail is very much part of the junior set-up but was not considered only for the present tournament. He is also not a new inclusion in the senior team. Ismail was drafted into the senior set-up after the World Cup last year.
The Telekom Pahang player and his team management had claimed that Ismail had been victimised – and prevented from playing in the NJHL – by being included in the senior team. They claimed that he was being punished for not showing up for training earlier.
“We feel the explanation given by the team management is sufficient for the moment. They have told us that Ismail is still in the (junior) team and had been dropped only for the coming tournament,” said Satgunam.
National Under-19 coach Stephen van Huizen had earlier admitted that he was told by senior team chief coach Paul Lissek to drop Ismail. Satgunam said this was probably because Ismail did not attend training regularly.
Satgunam said the MHF would act on all disciplinary cases and said such matters would be referred to them by all national team managements.
“I think we agree that there is a need to look at why a player is not attending training and not just act without giving the player a chance to explain,” he said.