Wednesday January 23, 2013
Fazilla aims to stay hot
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Fazilla Sylvester Silin has been on fire in the Spanish Hockey League.
And she hopes to carry on her free-scoring form for Malaysia in the World League second round in New Delhi from Feb 18-24.
Fazilla and midfielder Siti Noor Amarina Ruhaini went to play for Barcelona-based club Castelldefels for 10 weeks in the Spanish League last October to gain experience.
Fazilla was in her element, emerging as the club’s top scorer and second on the league scorers’ chart with 14 goals in nine matches. Siti Amarina, on the other hand, netted five times from penalty corners.
Castelldefels are now second in the 10-team league and Fazilla and Siti Amarina will return to Spain when the league resumes on March 1.
Fazilla, who has 90 international caps, is excited at the prospects of helping Malaysia reach the 2014 World Cup from the World League second round. Besides Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Fiji, Russia and hosts India are the other competing teams.
Only two teams will qualify for the World League semi-finals where 16 countries will battle for the eight spots to the World Cup.
The 26-year-old Fazilla believes she is a better player now after playing in the Spanish League.
“I have learned new things and also improve my skills. It was a dream come true to play in Spain.
“I am more confident in my game now. As the key forward, I hope to give my best and also score in all the matches in New Delhi,” said Fazilla, who scored five goals and was named as the Player of the Tournament in the World League round one in Kuantan last year.
Fazilla believes that Japan and India will pose the biggest threat to Malaysia’s hopes of finishing in the top two in New Delhi.
“Japan are the top seeds while India are seeded second. We are only seeded fourth behind Russia. I hope we can defy the seedings and grab one of the spots to the World League semi-finals,” said the Sarawak-born Fazilla.
Meanwhile, defender Nor Hasliza Ali and midfielder Noriani Abdul Rashid have recovered from their knee injuries and will also feature in the competition.
“We have 22 players in training. We will drop four before the team leave for New Delhi on Feb 8,” said S. Shamala, the senior vice-president of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
“We are arranging three friendlies against the local Indian sides before the start of the tournament,” added Shamala.
Former national goalkeeper Mohd Nasihin Nubli is the coach of the team.