Mohd Faizal, 24, who created controversy by disappearing after representing Malaysia at the World Hockey League in Singapore, was said to have reported for training with the national squad yesterday.
Coach Tai Beng Hai said the fitness test would be carried out over the next few days, starting tomorrow.
“In Faizal Saari’s case, whether he will play in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, we have to consider a few things. Firstly, can we get him match-fit or can we get him to a reasonable level so that he can play at a good level because it is an international tournament.
“In a tournament environment, we would also like to make sure that he does not get injured,” he told reporters after the presentation of sponsorship for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament scheduled for April 5 to 12, here today.
The sponsorship worth RM1.86 million from 22 sponsors was received by Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah as the patron of the tournament.
Also present was Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.
Right now, Beng Hai said 25 players, including Mohd Faizal, were undergoing the training, together with several players from the youth squad, as a preparation for selection of team to play at the third round of the World Hockey League in June.
“The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be the platform for the selection as it is the best hockey tournament in the world. The final selection will be made soon, we will hold a friendly match with New Zealand next Thursday in Ipoh,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament organising committee chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Md Ariff said even though there would only be six teams contesting in the 24th edition of the tournament, it would still be interesting with the presence of defending champion, Australia, which was also the world’s best team.
“As the defending champion and the world’s best, Australia is definitely eyeing to emerge as the champion for the third consecutive time,” he said.
Apart from Australia and Malaysia, the other contesting teams are India, South Korea, New Zealand and Canada.
Abd Rahim said all countries would be sending their national team as stipulated in the tournament regulation.
“We can say that all participating teams are also preparing for the Olympic Games,” he added.