Saturday January 5, 2013
Coach Dharmaraj gives Zulhairi one more chance
KUALA LUMPUR: Project 2013 squad coach K. Dharmaraj has warned defender Mohd Zulhairi Hashim to either buck up or ship out.
“He has failed to impress me in tournaments and has not shown any improvement despite having been in the team since last year,” said Dharmaraj.
Zulhairi, a former Setapak High School student, was called up for training after winning the top scorer’s award in the Malaysian Junior Hockey (MJHL) in 2011.
He scored 20 penalty corner goals for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the Under-19 league.
Zulhairi also featured in the Sultan of Johor Cup last November – but failed to make any impact.
“He has also failed to play consistently well in matches. He makes silly mistakes and cannot last the whole 70 minutes. I need players who are fit and can handle the pressure of playing the entire match,” said Dharmaraj, who is also disappointed with Zulhairi for failing to score from penalty corners.
“His drag flicks has no power. I almost dropped him from the squad. I’ve had a heart-to-heart talk with him and he has asked for another chance to prove himself in training.
“So, I’ve decided to give him another four months to buck up ... otherwise I’ll have no choice but to drop him.”
Dharmaraj has also warned the other players not to take their places for granted in the team.
“I need committed players, who can give their best in tournaments,” said Dharmaraj.
The Project 2013 squad will continue their next phase of training on Monday.
Dharmaraj will trim the squad to 25 players after playing five friendlies against the Canadian national senior and junior teams in Kuala Lumpur this month.
Dharmaraj has 11 months to prepare a solid squad for the Junior World Cup in Chandigarh, Punjab, from Dec 5-16.