KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey goalkeeper S. Kumar is in a dilemma.
Just when he thought he could concentrate on his job and enhance his career, having recently been moved to a new unit within Tenaga Nasional, Kumar finds himself having to take a long break from work to join the national hockey team for full-time training for the 2006 World Cup challenge next month.
Kumar, 25, wants to continue playing for the national team and is hoping to establish himself as the undisputed number one goalkeeper by next year.
He is currently vying with Roslan Jamaluddin and Mohamed Nasihin Nubli to stake a claim for the top spot.
But with his job demanding his attention as well, Kumar realises that he simply can’t have the best of both worlds.
Thus, he is trying hard to reach a compromise.
“I have just moved to the meter section in Tenaga and I need a few months to settle in. But this cannot happen if I take up full-time training with the national team.
“I joined Tenaga in 2000 and twice I’ve had to put aside my career for hockey. This time I want to complete my practical training with the new section so that my job is secure.
“At the same time, I realise that by doing so, it could jeopardise my position in the national hockey team,” he said yesterday.
Kumar will be talking to the team management about his problem and hopes that a solution can be found.
“I can commit myself to the training session in the evenings. But in the mornings, I will have to go back to my job. Maybe, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) or the National Sports Council (NSC) can talk to my employers and seek an exemption so that my job will not be affected.
“At the moment, I do not know what to do. It is all very confusing. I want to help the national team do well in the international tournaments but, at the same time, I should also show Tenaga my gratitude by giving full attention to my job,” said Kumar.
National team manager Zulkifli Abbas said they were aware of Kumar’s plight.
“This is similar to Tajol Rosli’s predicament last year and we were able to work things out for him. The only difference now is that the training sessions are on a full-time basis,” said Zulkifli.
“We will talk to Kumar and try and solve the problem. Kumar also cannot be out of the team for too long. He is slowly establishing himself in the team and we would like him to be in the training squad.
“I’m sure we can find a way out.”
There are 25 players in the national team but the team management will be meeting today to decide if they want to call up more players to the training squad.
Defender K. Gobinathan has quit international hockey while Tajol, who had a nose operation recently, is likely to be out for a month.
With six Tenaga Nasional players set to miss the Test matches against Belgium next month, the national team need to bring a few more players to fill the vacant slots.
“The six Tenaga players will be involved with their club in the Asian Champions Club tournament in Dhaka next month. As such, we will need to bring in a few more players,” said Zulkifli.
“We will discuss the matter tomorrow (today) and see who to call up. The players we bring in will be those we feel who need a chance to prove themselves. Who knows, they may even make the grade and become a member of the training squad permanently.”
The Belgian Tests matches are from Jan 21-27 while the Asian Club meet is from Jan 15-25.