Hockey ace Faizal Saari to play for Dutch club
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 (Bernama) -- Sensational striker of the national hockey team Faizal Saari created a personal milestone when he became the first national squad player to be selected to participate in the Dutch Premier League (Hoffdklasse) with ZSV Schaerweijde Hockey Club.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) National Team Management Committee chairman Datuk Ahmad Najmi Abdul Razak, who made the announcement, said the Terengganu Hockey Team striker will play in the Dutch Premier League for 10 months according to the contract by the club.
He said the Schaerweijde team under the management of coach Tom Drowly had chosen Faizal to join the squad considering the excellent performance of the 31-year-old player.
"Faizal will sign a contract for 10 months with the Schaerweijde team that will play in the Hoffdklasse League where they have just been promoted from the second division to the Dutch Premier League.
"The league will end on Nov 10 so Faizal will return to Malaysia on Nov 11 to continue training with the national team under coach A. Arul Selvaraj and will play for Malaysia in the Nations Cup," he told reporters at the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium here today.
Ahmad Najmi said Faizal will be provided with a Global Positioning System (GPS) by coach Arul Selvaraj to monitor the player's performance while playing in the league.
In the meantime, Arul Selvaraj said the move to send Faizal to the league was to give the national squad exposure to the opportunity to play in a high-quality league.
Arul Selvaraj said he also took inspiration from the Argentinian squad that won the 2021 Junior Hockey World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, with 19 of the 20 players in the squad playing in the Dutch and Belgian Leagues.
"So this is the first start to send national players to a quality league like in the Netherlands, we will focus again next year to send more players because now all the clubs have registered their teams.
"Even now there are clubs that are ready to accommodate our players there, such as in terms of equipment and preparation," he said.
Meanwhile, despite considering the task of representing the country to compete in the prestigious league in the Netherlands as a heavy responsibility, Faizal said he would still try his best to give his best performance there.
"There I will play at a very high tempo, but it is good for me and the Malaysian team, I am grateful and very excited to go there," he said.