Rahim Razie, 35, kept taking penalty corners during the practice sessions the other day with increased intensity. There was no let-up in his energy at all.
Razie is the eldest and the one with the most international caps (312) in the Malaysian hockey team. He has been the mainstay of the Speedy Tigers squad for around two decades.
Arul Selvaraj, Malaysia’s head coach, is candid regarding the role of drag flick expert Razie in the Asian Champions Trophy tournament beginning here on August 3.
“The message is clear. He is our main striker and he is here to score. The youngsters should learn discipline and fitness from Razie and captain Marhan Jalil. Their roles are important as they take my ideas to the younger players,” said Arul.
Razie said the best part of the team is the harmony among the players, which wasn’t the case earlier, and the improvements made by the team in fitness and tactics. “Our fitness has gotten better under fitness coach Tom Drowley. We have also made some tactical changes, which will be tried out here,” said Razie.
Razie insisted that the humid weather will not pose a problem as the conditions are quite similar in his country at this point in time. “Of course, we are used to this. It is quite the same in Malaysia,” he said.
In an illustrious career, Razie has been part of the team in four Asian Champions Trophy editions, two Asian Games (2010 & ‘18) and two Asia Cups (2017 & ‘22). Still, he has quite a few unfinished ambitions.
“My dream has not come through yet. Our main target is the Hangzhou Asian Games. We have a stronger team than before. And our other aim is to qualify for the Olympics, which we have not done in the previous five editions,” he said.
Head coach Arul has reposed faith in the leadership group, which includes Razie, to guide the younger bunch. Razie’s performance will have a huge bearing on Malaysia’s performance in the Asian Champions Trophy and beyond.