KUALA LUMPUR: Players with injuries in the national hockey team are piling up with the increase in intensity of the training sessions.
Four players are down while another, who was hurt in January, will not be available for another four months. Those who came down with injuries in training over the last four days are goalkeeper S. Kumar, P. Prabhakaran, Nozazlan Rahim and K. Logan Raj.
Defender Mohd Madzli Ikmar, who fractured his finger earlier, needs to undergo another surgery next week and it puts him out of the Europe tour in May and the Champions Challenge in July.
Coach Paul Lissek said yesterday that he hoped the four players would be able to rejoin training soon.
Prabhakaran, who has a muscle pull in his leg, is also down with fever. He has been sent home.
“He is not down with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) but the NSC (National Sports Council) doctors felt that it was better to isolate him from the team until he recovers fully,” said Lissek.
“We are taking all precautions. Norazlan has also been sent back because he too has fever. The injuries the players are carrying are muscle strain and ankle sprain. But in the case of Logan, he is feeling the effects of a one-year layoff.”
The players are being put through a series of strenuous physical workouts daily because their fitness levels are not up to mark.
The poor fitness level of the team stood out like a sore thumb in the recent five-team Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Ipoh where Malaysia finished last.
The team will leave for Europe on May 2 for a two-week tour with several matches lined up in Belgium and Germany.
After the Champions Challenge, which will be played in South Africa from July 19-27, Malaysia are down to play in the Asia Cup, which they host in September.
Two players S. Kuhan and Mohd Amin Rahim will leave for Seoul on April 12 for a two-week training stint with the South Korean national team.
Lissek said that the duo would get to experience how the Koreans conduct their fitness programme.
“I am grateful that the Koreans agreed to accept the two players. The Koreans' fitness in the international arena is second to none,” he said.
The other Malaysians will get to learn about the Korean training methods from their skipper, Kang Keon-wook, who is already in Malaysia with the Sapura team for the coming Malaysia Hockey League.
Lissek has invited Keon-wook to join the national team in training, starting with a gym workout today.
The players will take a break for the weekend and selection of the team for the European tour will be made on April 25.
Meanwhile, three of the four players from Telekom Pahang, who withdrew from the national team in February, have rejoined training.
They are Ismail Abu, Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Mohd Sallehin Abdul Ghani. The player not recalled is Mohd Suppian.