KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Hamiz Mohd Ahir (pic) is extra motivated to be the country’s top hockey goalkeeper now that his childhood idol is his coach.

Hamiz had trained with the national juniors for two weeks under former goalkeeper S. Kumar before training was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since his sister introduced him to the sport when he was 13, Hamiz had always looked up to Kumar, who is regarded as one of the top keepers in the world.

Kumar, who retired early this year, was appointed as the juniors’ goalkeepers coach in March.

Hamiz said he was determined to follow in Kumar’s footsteps.

“I was selected into the team in March and fortunately, I’ve only benefitted two weeks of training with Kumar before the MCO (movement control order) was imposed,” said Hamiz.

“I was in awe during training. He was really helpful and inspired us on and off the field.

“He says that as a keeper, we should not fear any team. Instead, we should believe in ourselves and invest more time in training.

“I want to learn all the skills from him and become a top keeper like him.”

Hamiz was named as the best goalkeeper for Pahang Hockey Academy (AHP)-Thunderbolt in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in 2016.

Two years later, Hamiz made his parents Mohd Ahir Bohari and Seri Rukhaida Abu Naim, who sell satay in Bera, Pahang, proud by helping Malaysia win their first-ever hockey gold in the Olympic Youth Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Last year, he was between the posts to help Malaysia win bronze in the six-nation Under-21 Sultan of Johor Cup.

Hamiz, who played for TNB-Thunderbolt in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in January, is waiting for a new date to be announced for the Junior Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The meet scheduled in June has been postponed.

The other goalkeepers in the team fighting for a place in the Junior Asia Cup squad are Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi and Mohd Aidil Mohd Shah.

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