KUALA LUMPUR: Talented hockey players who wish to combine serving the country and furthering their playing career after leaving school should join the army.
This is the advice given by Armed Forces Hockey Association (AFHA) president Major Jen Datuk Aziz Ibrahim.
“It is a matter of choice. Most join the army because they want to take it up as a career and not for sports. But if you are a talented sportsman, then you can combine both.
“Look at our history and you can see the number of internationals that have come through our ranks,” said Aziz yesterday.
In the 70s and 80s, the Armed Forces team and the Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) side were feared in the local scene.
These teams used to fill half the stadiums whenever they were in action.
Players like Jagjit Singh, Awang Che Ros, Mohamed Nor and Gurmit Singh are just a few names that come to mind.
The army side have won the Razak Cup while RMR have lifted the National Hockey League title.
“Joining us is not just about being soldiers. Players can move up in the army because we also have the National Defence University in Sungai Besi where they can pursue degree courses,” said Aziz.
“There is a recruitment drive each year and players can seek information from us at any time.”
Aziz began revamping the army hockey side three years ago and, on Thursday, it came to fruition when they won the Division Two title in the recently-concluded Razak Cup tournament.
He believes that they can improve further and stamp their mark on the domestic scene next year.
“We want to keep this development effort going and regain our status as a top hockey team in the country.
“We have a young team and I believe they will get better over the next two years,” he said.