Tengku Nasrul takes unpaid leave to join Speedy Tigers

KUALA LUMPUR: For the love of hockey, Tengku Nasrul Ikmal Tengku Abdul Rahim took unpaid leave from his job to join the national men's hockey team for centralised training.

The 23-year-old forward from Kuantan was first on the initial 46-player list before making the 30-member squad ahead of the Speedy Tigers' first mission under newly appointed coach Sarjit Singh in the Sultan Azlan Shah (SAS) Cup in Ipoh on May 4-11.

Tengku Nasrul, a sales executive at Coway in Kuantan, missed some training sessions last month because his employer initially did not allow him to attend.

But with the help of team manager Datuk Ahmad Najmi Abdul Razak, Tengku Nazrul's unpaid leave request was granted by Coway.

Tengku Nasrul, who has 22 caps, made his international debut at the SAS Cup in 2022.

"Coway has extended my unpaid leave until the SAS Cup next month. I can now train peacefully without worrying about losing my job," said Tengku Nasrul.

"I am relieved that I still have a job. It does not matter if I am not getting paid a salary now as my focus is on regaining my spot in the national team."

Tengku Nasrul last played for the national team at the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, in January last year.

"I was very sad when I was dropped after the World Cup. I am not blaming anyone as I have yet to score a goal for Malaysia," he said.

Tengku Nasrul is determined to make the final 18-player list for the SAS Cup and score his first goal for Speedy Tigers at the tournament.

The other forwards in the training squad are Faizal Saari, Azrail Aizad Abu Kamal, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Akhimullah Anuar Esook, Nur Rahull Hrsikesa Thaitchana Muruthi and Azimuddion Syakir Kamaruddin.

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