OKS hopes to see longevity of youngsters in the senior Malaysia squad

Goal.com

OKS hopes to see longevity of youngsters in the senior Malaysia squad

Still searching for his first win as Malaysia's head coach, Nelo Vingada is finally making moves that sees variation in the squad.


When Malaysia went away to Hong Kong the last time out, Vingada called up Safawi Rasid, Syamer Kutty Abba, Ifwat Akmal, Adam Nor Azlin and Nor Azam Azih. A sudden influx of youth to freshen things up but one that has really been put to the test.

Nor Azam had to pull out due to personal issues while Adam and Ifwat didn't see any action. Safawi had only 45 minutes of game time before being pulled off after half time and it was left to Syamer to produce the goods as he became one of the better players wearing the Malayan Tigers jersey on that night.

This time around for the matches against North Korea, Vingada has dropped Ifwat but added Ahmad Khairil Anuar and Syafiq Ahmad to the ranks - all of whom were part of the Under-23 squad under the guidance of Datuk Ong Kim Swee. Proud to see his charge make the step up, Ong is clear what he wants from his charges.

"I've been involved so many years with youth players, the Under-21s and Under-23s, I've seen so many of these players grow up with national team before Syamer. Of course I'm proud of Syamer but at the same time, he must learn his lesson well. He must understand what the demand is for the national team and not get carried away." 

"Most of the players before in Harimau Muda, they have been in the national team but they don't last long. So that indicate something is not right. So I hope not only Syamer but whoever is called for the national team, they have to make sure that they fight for the national team and also keep being consistent.

"No point I'm very proud of whoever and they only get one or two call up or only in the squad for one year. They are very young and they must put something in their head - that they want to play in the national team until the day they retire. I want them to last long in the national team, that's my aim. 

"At the same time, I believe in Nelo. He know the qualities of the players. You can see that Syamer did very well in the middle. He was comfortable and calm for his first cap. It shows that he can go far but not alone. He needs the support not only from the players, the coaching staffs and even from the U23 staffs. Most important is don't get carried away," Ong told Goal.

The onus is on these players to continue to work hard and ensure that keep getting the call from Vingada or whoever else that comes after him. They would have seen their predecessors and they paths that they went on after graduating from the junior squads.

Making the step up isn't the end of the journey but instead must be the start of one. One that will hopefully see them progress from strength to strength and become permanent fixtures in the senior national team in years to come. 

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