An off the cuff remark by his sister acted turning point in this contemporary Malaysian star’s hockey career.
“Here everyone can play football. Not many can play Hockey. You should play Hockey!”
That is when this diminutive forward, who is a thorn in the flesh of rival defence, decided to take up hockey -- and the rest is refreshing history.
Faisal Saari is one of the two picks from the vast pool of Malaysian talent – the other being goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam -- for the upcoming Hockey India League (HIL). He was sold for USD 26000. This may sound not so huge to many, but when translates into Malaysia Ringgit, it becomes big, RM 78,000.
“That is huge money in Malaysia,” says the young 21-year old with a child like enthusiasm.
Faisal debuted for the Malaysia team back in 2009 and has been a regular since but he is also Malaysia’s best bet in the Under-21 category.
And only when travel back in time to May 2012, and observe that the top-scorer in the Junior Asia Cup, Malacca, was none other than Faisal Saari, you realize why Ric Charlesworth picked this young dashing forward for the Mumbai Marines team.
“May be because I am fast, I can score field goals or may be because I can drag flick too,” guesses the humble Electrician in Malaysia, with a proud smile on his face.
“I want to make Malaysia proud in India and make a mark in India with this league. I am very excited to play under Ric Charlesworth. I am waiting to see the likes of Jamie Dwyer, Taeke Taekema in action,” shares the 2010 Asian Games Silver Medalist (where India has to console themselves with a Bronze medal)
So, is the league all about money?
“Well, it’s 50-50 for money and hockey. More than that, it will be a learning experience for me, tactically, culturally and attitude-wise,” tells this player-to-be-watched-out-for in the upcoming Hockey India League.
And even at this young age, this short player has a vision about hockey and its prospects in Malaysia.
“There are very few players in Malaysia who have jobs like the one I have. I wish there are more players from Malaysia who get similar chances and opportunities like the Hockey India League,” says the prolific Malaysian flicker.
And, the time has really come for Faisal to take his sister’s to another level.
Lifted with permission from www.stick2.hockey.com