Although he will be making his debut in the Sultan of Johor Cup, which begins Sunday at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru, the 19-year-old is ready to shoulder a dual role for the Project 2016 team.
Not only will the 19-year-old Perlis-born Najmi marshall the defence, in the absence of Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain (ankle injury), he is also ready to deliver goals from penalty corner set pieces with his drag flicks.
Najmi was called up to join the Project 2016 squad after scoring 12 penalty corner goals for Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
Now, he aims to emulate national forward Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, who also hails from Kangar.
“Tengku Ahmad is the only player from Perlis to have played in the national senior or junior teams.
“I’m happy that I’ve been selected for the Sultan of Johor Cup, which I hope will be the turning point in my hockey career,” said Najmi, who played in a friendly against Britain on Thursday night.
Malaysia lost the match 2-1, with forward Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman scoring a field goal.
“I’m looking forward to a memorable outing in the Sultan of Johor Cup. I want to play well in defence and deliver goals from penalty corners,” said Najmi.
Malaysia, who finished runners-up in the Sultan of Johor Cup last year, will open their campaign against Australia on Sunday.
The other teams in the fray are defending champions India, Britain, New Zealand and Pakistan.