The Malaysian men’s hockey team received a titanic gust last week, when their most experienced goalkeeper S Kumar was ruled out of the FIH Hockey Series Finals tournament which is scheduled to begin from April 26 to May 4 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Head coach Roelant Oltmans confirmed that the 39-year-old had not fully recovered from a thigh injury suffered during the Malaysian Hockey League tournament last month.
“Honestly, I was expecting this (Kumar to not play), so we were fully prepared with three other keepers – Hairi Rahman, Hafizuddin Othman and Zaimi Mat Deris.
“I did speak to their goalkeeping coach Martijn Drijver. He is very happy with their performance during training, and is confident of their ability,” Roelant told reporters after a training session at the National Hockey Stadium.
“Of course, we are disappointed because Kumar cannnot play, but we hope that Hairi and Hafizuddin can fit in his shoes. We have also seen Hairi display a fantastic performance at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last month,” said Roelant.
Malaysia are grouped in Pool B, along with Italy, Brazil and China will open their campaign against Brazil on April 26.