Azlan puts on brave front
Midfielder had to be coaxed back into national team
Friday, April 27, 2012 - 18:25
The 29-year-old had earlier indicated he wanted to take a break from the sport to get over the misery of missing out on the London Olympics and to regain his fighting spirit.
However, after talking with Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Shah, secretary Johari Aziz and national team manager George Koshy last week, the midfield player decided to come back.
“Of course I’m still disappointed by the failure to qualify for the Olympics in Dublin last month. I’m not over it,” said Azlan.
“But, as one of the senior players in the team I have to put on a brave front for the sake of the younger ones. After all, they look up to us for guidance and motivation.”
Azlan admitted it took some coaxing from the higher management to make him change his mind as he wanted to concentrate on his working career.
He realised that there wasn’t much time for the coaches to build a new team for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Plus the National Juniors are preparing for the Asian Junior Cup in Malacca next month.
Azlan has already informed the coaching staff, namely national coach Tai Beng Hai, and those who had coaxed him to return that he would have to juggle his work and hockey.
“My job is flexible but there will be times I will not be able to join training sessions. I will replace these sessions on my own though, especially the fitness aspects,” he added.
When asked about the morale of the players following Beng Hai’s report to the MHC council earlier this month, Azlan replied that has been left in the past.
“We were surprised at first but after explanation from the coach, we admitted our weakness. It’s not affecting us anymore as we know our faults.”