PETALING JAYA: In April, Faiz Helmi Jali was preparing to earn a coaching certificate after failing to find a place in Sarjit Singh’s revamped national senior hockey squad.

Now, the hunt for the certificate is on the backburner and Faiz is in with a shot for a slot in the team for the 2026 Asian Games.

The midfielder, who has 215 caps, last played for the Tigers during the Asian Olympic Qualifier in Oman in January and played a crucial role in helping Tenaga Nasional win the treble in the Malaysian Hockey League in March. But he was not invited for the national trials conducted by new head coach Sarjit and decided that to take up coaching.

However, the 32-year-old Faiz remembered the advice given by Sarjit to continue training and look for a second chance. So, he gathered up his courage and contacted Sarjit to ask for a chance to train with the national squad and prove his worth.

Sarjit has included him on an attachment with the Speedy Tigers.

“After the MHL, I was planning to earn a coaching certificate to venture into training young players but at the same time, I had not totally given up on making the national senior squad,” said Faiz after his first training session with the Tigers.

“I feel I can still serve the national team if given the opportunity and gave coach Sarjit a call. He agreed to a training attachment. I am not part of the team yet but I have been given the chance give it a go.

“I have dropped the idea of earning coaching certificate for now and will push hard to regain my spot in the national squad.”

Faiz is not only an established midfielder but can also play as a central defender and this could have convinced Sarjit to try him out.

However, the coach has reminded Faiz that he will have to show that he is better than the current team members if he is to make the cut.

“Faiz is only on attachment and he must prove that he is well ahead of the new players. He must remain at a high level until the 2026 Asian Games to be included into the squad,” said Sarjit.

“We have some inexperienced players in defence and Faiz is capable of playing in that position and also midfield. We will be monitoring his fitness, performance level and commitment before granting him a place in the squad.”

The midfield line-up looks set with Fitri Saari, Shello Silveriius, Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi while the 19-year-old Azimuddin Syakir Kamaruddin has also been making an impact in that position.

Faiz could find himself partnering captain Marhan Jalil as a central defender, a position he is used to play during his international career.

If he does impress Sarjit, Faiz will be one of five players in the team who are aged above 30. The others are goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman (32), Marhan (34), Fitri (31) and striker Faizal Saari (33).