BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
It is always hard for any footballers to reach the final match of any competition, only to fall at the final hurdle and finish as runner up. To go through the same experience not just once, but twice in the same year must then be heartbreaking.
Unfortunately that is the exact experience that Pahang and Malaysia defender Matthew Davies has gone through in 2017.
At club level, Pahang finished runners up in the FA Cup, losing 3-2 to Kedah in the final match back in May, while just last month, Malaysia U22 ended their 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games campaign with a silver medal, losing 1-0 to Thailand in the final match. Coincidentally, both matches were held at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Davies (left) playing for Malaysia U22 in the SEA Games. Photo from MASOC
However, when contacted by Goal, the right back explained that he has taken both disappointments as part of his learning process, describing them as a bittersweet experience.
"It's very bittersweet as it's a big achievement to reach the final matches in the first place. But to have gone through reaching two finals, getting hyped up, having a lot of fans behind you and a lot of build up to the games, and then falling short is quite disappointing and takes a lot out of you mentally.
"I guess the consolation for me is that I'm still young, I'm just 22 and to have these big games under my belt is a great experience for me going forward.
"I'm patient and I'm sure the titles will come in the future. I'm looking forward to playing in more big games. It's what being a footballer is all about.
"And now going into these type of games; final or semi-final matches, I will definitely know what to expect and won't be too fazed by big occassions. The SEA Games final and FA Cup final are almost as big as it gets in Malaysia," explained the Australian-born defender in a telephone conversation on Thursday.
Malaysia U22's successful run in the SEA Games has also brought attention on its squad members, who reportedly have caught the eye of Thai League scouts, with clubs in the competition set to offer an ASEAN foreign player slot beginning next season.
When asked by us, Davies agrees that playing abroad may benefit Malaysian players, but maintains that he remains committed to seeing out his contract with the Elephants, which is set to run until the end of 2018.
"Of course, Malaysian players have a lot to learn and there's a lot to be gained from venturing abroad. It could only stand to benefit players if they look abroad.
"It's an option (playing overseas). Obviously, I'm very happy here because I've been treated very well. It's something that in the future, when I look back at my own career, and to be satisfied with that, I 'd like to have a few different stints abroad whether it's back in Australia or Malaysia.
"If I managed to have a few stints abroad, I'd consider that a part of a successful career. I do want that, but not for a little bit. My contract with Pahang ends at the end of 2018," said Davies.
Davies has one last chance left to capture silverware this season. Pahang are in the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals, and on Saturday they will host Perak in the first leg match at the Darulmakmur Stadium.