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KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 -- National hockey chief coach Arul Selvaraj has shortlisted 22 players for centralised training in preparation for the international friendly series at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from April 17 to 24.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) defender and former international Muhammad Azri Hassan is the only new face in the squad, who will be involved in the triangular friendlies against Great Britain and Japan.
Arul said he needed a strong and experienced squad for the training camp beginning on Thursday, as the friendly tournament would be no walk in the park.
He said several of those shortlisted were also carrying light injuries they suffered in the Malaysian Hockey League which ended last month, and physiotherapists from the National Sports Institute are monitoring them closely.
“The friendlies lined up against Great Britain and Japan are definitely not easy as they are in the mental and physical preparation stage for the Tokyo Olympic Games while our national squad are preparing for international competitions.
"I need experienced players and Muhammad Azri is a good player. He did very well in the recent league and is no stranger to the national team, so it is not wrong for me to give him another chance,” he said in a statement today.
Muhammad Azri, 29, earned 101 caps with the national team and also played in the 2018 Asian Games final in Indonesia.
The 22 players comprise 10 from Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), seven from UniKL, three from Maybank and two from Terengganu Hockey Team (THT).