Hockey: Fitri’s omission leads to questions

There is no doubt that Fitri Saari is one of the most talented players ever had.

His ability, with and without the ball is phenomenal, his vision second to none and his bursting runs from the midfield has many a time won crucial matches for Malaysia.

This lad wears the national flag on his chest with utmost pride, giving his all on and off the pitch.

Perhaps Fitri gave just a wee bit too much in voicing his opinion in the post mortem after the Olympic Failure in London.

Could that be the reason why Fitri finds himself out of the national team that was named today, alongside with his brother Faizal, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor, Mohd Shukri Mutalib amd Joel Samuel van Huizen.

The official narrative is rebuilding the national team and that some players have their reasons for staying out.

Do we really buy that story?

Let’s just take another player – Nabil Fiqri.

He is a police inspector and he is duty bound to answer a national call up and not go to Italy and play in their league.

Are we expected to believe that PDRM will allow leave for its officer to snub a national call up?

Next we take a look at Shukri Mutalib, a role model of a player, hardly into any sort of controversies ever since he was first spotted by Paul Lissek in 2002.

A teacher by profession at Bukit Jalil Sports School, his omission could have been handled better, giving him the same treatment at given to S. Kumar.

Why was Shukri not eased into coaching the youngsters? He could have been easily roped into the coaching set up and attached to the national juniors team to learn the trade and sent for coaching courses.

As for Faizal, this player needs to be handled with care, for he still can deliver if nurtured carefully, with those who have expertise dealing in characters.

Back to Fitri, in simple words no coach in his right frame of mind would have omitted such a player in his rebuilding exercise for Fitri has all the qualities required to guide youngsters.

While we all understand that ultimately changes are required in building a new team after failures at major events, the manner in which this was undertaken leaves a bitter taste.

There is also talk that five of these players were vocal in their assessment on the failure in London during the post mortem and paid the price for being honest.

But we will never know as the report of the post mortem has yet to be made public, despite saying it will be out in three weeks.

By the way, whatever has happened to the retirement payment of the players from Yayasan Hoki Malaysia.

Some players who were dropped way back in 2013 have yet to receive their retirement benefits.

Could anyone shed light on this matter or is this another exclusive body that no one can question?

Of Hockey, it continues to be a maze, unfortunately it’s getting deeper and deeper into the quicksand and really no one actually care for it any longer.

And to the state Hockey associations, look at the mirror, you, yes you are to blame for everything as you were only interested in the RM100,000k that you thought will come.

Anyway keep on checking your bank balance daily please, you do not care anyway.