National men's hockey goalkeeper S. Kumar has announced his retirement from international hockey after serving the country for 20 years.
The 40-year-old had been with the national squad since 1999, collecting 321 caps and helping the country win two silver medals at the Asian Games in 2010 and 2018, and another silver at the 2017 Asia Cup in Dhaka.
Despite having announced his retirement from the national squad, he would continue to play for the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) team.
"I wanted to retire since 2015 but I continued to be with the national team since my service might be needed if we qualified for the Olympics.
"But after Malaysia failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020, I thought it would be better to give chances to young goalkeepers to hone their skills for long-term development.
"If I continued with the national squad, I would already be 44-year-old by then. which is not something easy. Malaysia need young goalkeepers,’’ he told a media conference at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.
Upon the announcement of the retirement, Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Subahan Kamal promptly appointed Kumar as a goalkeeper coach for the national junior squad.
Kumar was thankful for the opportunity and said it was something very significant and important to him, as he wanted to share his knowledge and experience with the younger generations of players.