KUALA LUMPUR: Since being named the best player in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in March, Mohd Hafiq Samsul’s game has been steadily rising.
The 19-year-old Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) player was in commanding form as he manned the midfield during the National Juniors’ playing tour to Europe.
National Juniors coach K. Dharmaraj too is impressed with the progress shown by the Perak-born player.
“Hafiq is a good playmaker and he has shown that he can marshall the midfield well in the absence of the national players,” said the coach.
“I’m confident that he’ll be able to combine well with the two national midfielders – Mohd Fitri (Saari) and Meor (Mohd Azuan Hassan) – in the Sultan of Johor Cup.”
The six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup, which begins on Sunday at Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru, is also part of the National Juniors’ preparation for Junior World Cup in New Delhi from Dec 6-15.
The former Anderson player is also a filial son.
“I play hockey for the money ... to help lessen my family’s burden. I am paid monthly by UniKL to play in the MJHL and also in the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League),” said Hafiq, who also receives monthly training allowance from the national junior squad.
Hafiq’s father, Samsul Harun, works in a factory while his mother, Safwa Din, is a housewife.
Hafiq said that he was honoured to have been named the best player in the MJHL, adding that it has boosted his confidence and further motivated him to improve his game.
“I love playing hockey. I’ll continue to improve my game and give my best in the Sultan of Johor Cup,” he said.
“We have a good and reliable team and I believe we can do well in the tournament.”
Malaysia will play a friendly against India at 7pm Friday before facing Argentina in their opening match on Sunday.
The other teams in the fray are England, South Korea and Pakistan.
England and Pakistan are also in the same group with Malaysia in the Junior World Cup.