KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistani great Shahid Ali Khan came to Malaysia as a hockey goalkeeper coach with much fanfare.
Now, he is stumped. Only three of his four charges are in camp. And none of his would-be understudies have shown up.
Three former national goalkeepers, Izwan Suhardy, Manjit Singh and Hamdan Hamzah had been called up to be his understudies. But until yesterday evening, not one of them had shown up.
There should have been four goalkeepers in the National Juniors’ training squad but only three are in camp. They are Khairul Nizam Ibrahim, Mohamed Fitri Abdul Aziz and Ahmad Bazli Razali. Mohamed Hairul Azhar has not shown up although he was selected after the recent Under-21 tournament.
The former Pakistani international, who has an Olympic and a World Cup gold medal to show, is also surprised that there are no other age-group goalkeepers in his programme.
Shahid said yesterday that it is important that Under-14 and under-16 goalkeepers attend his session so they can pick up some very useful tips.
“My priority is the junior keepers. But I’m sure that the other age-group goalkeepers will benefit from watching the training sessions.
“I'm not too concerned about the older guys. It will be difficult to change their ways. But with younger age group, it is a whole lot easier,” said Shahid.
The Pakistani, who was also voted the best goalkeeper in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said the early sessions with the juniors would be tough.
“I'm not here on holiday. I want to show that my training methods work. At the same time, I want to ensure that the two goalkeepers for Malaysia at the Junior World Cup Finals are well prepared,” he added.
The Finals will be held in Rotterdam from June 29-July 10. Malaysia have been drawn in Group B with Germany, Argentina and South Africa.
Shahid has been working with the Pakistan national team for the last eight years. He is still involved with the senior team.
Meanwhile, MHF secretary T. Paramalingam said they would try and find out why the attachment coaches are not in camp.
“They have not told us that they cannot come. We will contact them for an explanation,” he said.