24 Sep 2013

Shahril determined to help Malaysia down England Featured


JOHOR BARU: In-form forward Mohd Shahril Saabah is hell-bent in helping Malaysia take down England in Wednesday’s Sultan of Johor Cup clash at the Taman Daya Stadium.


The 19-year-old has contributed three goals – all from penalty corners – in Malaysia’s two wins thus far. He scored two goals in the 4-2 triumph over Argentina in the opening match on Sunday. On Monday, he sounded the board once against South Korea in the 5-1 victory.

Shahril’s form has been a revelation, considering the misery he went through in the Under-18 Asia Cup in Singapore two years ago. Then, he failed to even score a single goal.

The Kuala Lumpur-born Shahril said the failure in Singapore prompted him to work hard on his drag flicks.

“I’m glad that it’s paying off now. I must thank coach K. Dharmaraj for giving me the chance to play here. And I am happy that I never did not let him down so far.

“Now, I am enjoying my hockey again and hope to score more goals,” said Shahril.

Shahril showed his prowess in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last year. He netted 18 goals to help Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolts bag both the league and overall titles in Division One.

On Wednesday’s match, Shahril said they would not underestimate winless England, who were beaten by Pakistan (6-2) and India (2-1).

“We want a win to take a step closer to the final. We played three friendly matches against England during our playing tour of Europe in July this year. We drew one match (3-3) and lost the other two (5-1 and 5-3). Then, we were not at full strength. Now we have five national players in this tournament so I believe we are capable of getting the three points,” said Shahril.

He added: “Although England have lost both their matches here, we can expect a close fight from them as they gave a good fight to India and Pakistan.”

For Shahril, he will continue to try to impress Dharmaraj as he wants to secure a berth in the team for the Junior World Cup in India in December.

“My mission in Johor Baru is to continue scoring goals from penalty corners. I hope to be the top scorer in the tournament. I need to play well to win a place in the Junior World Cup,” said Shahril.

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