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In this week's edition, the Kelantan defender tells Aysha how he is determined to be a valuable asset at both club and international level

How are things with you in Kelantan now? Are you enjoying yourself?

Things are great. I'm happy to play for my own state and at the same time I'm also closer to my family now. So far things are going well.

That's good to know. You have been with Harimau Muda for many years. How difficult was it for you to leave the team?

I have to admit it was not an easy decision for me to make. I have been with the team for four years... and together we shared the ups and downs, good and bad memories. But I thought it through and thought it was time for me to gain new experience outside Harimau Muda.

As a Kelantanese now playing in your own team, who do you look up to in the team?

For me, I have always admired Piya (Badhri Radzi) and Farisham Ismail, simply because of their great desire and spirit. I can learn so much from them and improve as a player.

Your former coach, Datuk Ong Kim Swee is now the national team coach. He was also there in Kota Bharu for the FA Cup second round game: between Kelantan and Sabah. What do you think of this appointment?

I think Coach Ong's appointment as the national team coach is what the local football fans have been waiting for. With his style and friendly character, I believe the players who will play for him will feel comfortable. There shouldn't be a problem. I hope he will do great.

Some of the Harimau Muda players who left to play in the Super League have not yet got their chance to play but you played for 90 minutes in the FA Cup game against Sabah. How do you feel about that?

It was exciting for me to start and play the full game for Kelantan for the first time despite being new to them. I would never take such chances for granted. I hope I can repay coach Steve Darby's trust in me.

In your opinion, how's the condition of the Kelantan team now that they have lost some of their key players?

I think we have started to gel better as a team including the new faces and I'm one of the new faces, of course! Maybe there are only a few things that we need to improve. We are getting there.

What's your personal goal this year?

I have set a target for myself this year. I hope to score eight goals for Kelantan and also I hope to be given the chance to play for the Harimau Malaya under Coach Ong.

 

Aysha Ridzuan is the in-house writer & sports production professional for Astro SuperSport in Kuala Lumpur.

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