Malaysian international striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha is a very reasonable and realistic man.
The Besut born Norshahrul, or better known as Mat Yo to local football fans, has no personal favourites for the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup, simply because he thinks every team in the tournament will be on equal footing at the start of the tournament.
“From my own observation, I can see that every team has a chance,” Norshahrul told Goal.com Malaysia.
With this firm belief, Norshahrul urged the Malaysian team not to take anyone lightly, as reputations do not decide the outcome of a tournament. Instead, the 25-year-old player is convinced that any team that can keep their eyes firmly on the task in hand throughout the tournament will emerge triumphant at the end of it all.
“Whoever manages to give 100 percent and can stay focused for the full 90 minutes in every game, deserves to be crowned champions at the end,” he added.
When asked about Malaysia’s own preparations for the regional tournament, Norshahrul said, “At the moment, we are going through daily training sessions at Wisma FAM.”
“We’ll depart to Hanoi on the 1st of November for a friendly match against Vietnam.
“It has been going smooth so far.”
On Tuesday, the Kelantan striker was named the Best Striker and the Most Valuable Player at the FAM National Football Awards. The ceremony is held annually to honour the best players in the Malaysian league at the end of every domestic season.
Norshahrul was chosen this year for his role in The Red Warriors’ clean sweep of three trophies, namely the FA Cup, the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and the Malaysia Cup for the first time in their history.
“This award spurs me on to be a better player in the future,” he said after winning the prestigious awards.
Norshahrul, who has been angling for a move away from Kelantan to the newly rich Johor, was instrumental in Malaysia’s victorious 2010 campaign - especially in the first leg of the final against Indonesia where he set up two of the three goals.
Malaysia will be expecting much of the same again when the competition gets underway at the end of this month.