More woes for hockey squad

National assistant coach Yahya Atan said at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday that Tajol called him up in the morning to tell him that he did not want to be considered for the assignments. 

“I am not sure whether he wants to take a break or quit the national team for good. He did not give me a direct answer to this but said that he would give his reasons (for not wanting to join training) in a letter to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF),” he said. 

Yahya will be handling the team together with A. Arulselvaraj following the MHF decision not to retain German Paul Lissek following the team's failure to qualify for the Athens Olympics in a tournament in Madrid, which ended early this month. 

Tajol's decision not to join training comes a day after defender K. Gobinathan announced his decision to quit international hockey. The Tenaga Nasional employee had been a regular with the national team for the past two years. 

Yahya added that they had heard rumours that at least three players intended to take a break from national duty. 

“But thankfully the other 16 players called up have decided to play on,” said Yahya. 

“Two players from Bank Simpanan Nasional (Mohad Rodhanizam and Reduan Ponirin) asked to be excused from the first day's training as they had a league commitment with their team.” 

The MHF had retained 14 players from the team who went to Madrid. The other four – Mohamed Shukri Mutalib, Reduan Nasir, Ismail Abu and Azlan Misron – are now with the national juniors, who will play in the Junior Asia Cup in Karachi from April 20-29. 

Four players earned were recalled to join the team. They are Rodhanizam, Reduan, Fairuz Ramli and Nishel Kumar. 

Arulselvaraj said that they were not sure about calling up replacements and would have a discussion with the MHF on the matter. 

The national team will leave for Canberra on April 13 for the first tournament scheduled for April 14-18. The tournament in Sydney will be played from April 21-25.  

The teams in the fray are Australia, India and South Africa. 

This weekend, the seniors will play two full matches against the juniors at the National Hockey Stadium. 

The players from Olympic qualifying team in training are Roslan Jamaluddin, S. Kumar, S. Kuhan, K. Keevan Raj, Nor Azlan Bakar, Mohamed Amin Rahim, Jiwa Mohan, K. Logan Raj, Chua Boon Huat, Madzli Ikmar, S. Shanker and Norazlan Rahim. 

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