The 26-year-old Hafizuddin Muhd Hafizuddin Othman will replace veteran S. Kumar as the national No. 1 goalkeeper. Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman, 28, is the other goalkeeper in the squad. Hafizuddin has been with the national hockey team since the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The 38-year-old Kumar has been provisionally suspended for two years after testing positive for sibutramine in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in October.
“We’re not sure how long Kumar will be out of the team. We were shocked when the FIH (International Hockey Federation) sent us a letter stating that Kumar had failed a doping test. We believe that Kumar did the right thing by waiving the B sample test and opting to go for an early hearing. Once he clears his name, he will join the team.In the meanwhile, we have confidence in Hafizuddin and Hairi. And I believe it’s time for them to step up,” said Head Coach Stephen.
“We feel sad for Kumar. He has represented the country 295 times in the last 18 years. He has gone through doping test more than 10 times in tournaments and the results have always been negative,” said Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Subahan Kamal
“Kumar will provisionally be suspended for two years. He will be dropped from the Podium Programme in January,” said Subahan.
Kumar will be represented by lawyer Jadadish Chandra and the Anti Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) for the hearing. Jadadish was the lawyer who represented badminton player Lee Chong Wei when he was tested postive for the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone during the World Cham-pionships in 2015.