Malaysia stumbled at the final hurdle of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup as Vietnam not only went on to win in the final but also overtook Malaysia in the list of winners, capturing their second title in the process.
It has been a gallant run for the national team who many did not consider to be one of the potential finalists, let alone being a tournament favourite. The head coach Tan Cheng Hoe stuck to his guns regarding the team selection and there were several standout performances.
In young Syamer Kutty Abba, Cheng Hoe has been rewarded in his faith in the central midfielder as the Johor Darul Ta’zim player proved that he has what it takes to be a mainstay in the senior national team.
“It’s a very painful defeat for the players. It’s really painful because we didn’t use the chance that we created. The first goal affected the game. We know they have a really good defence. Even though we created a lot of chances, the early goal really killed us.”
Continuing his rapid progression, the Penang born player came to the fore during Malaysia’s run to the final of the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. A spell in Portugal followed the 2018 AFC U23 Championship and now Syamer will be targeting the next step of his career.
Since moving to JDT in 2018, he has yet to establish himself in the Super League winning side. That said, he was used a lot more late in the season upon his return from Portugal club Vilaverdense FC.
Now having started all but one of Malaysia’s eight matches in this regional tournament, Syamer needs to start making the step up at club level as well.
“But to reach the final for me is one of the good things that has happened for me, so I’m happy for that. At the same time, I know that it is a long journey for me.”
“The future nobody knows but I have to work hard after this. It’s not easy for me at the really young age to come to this team. I have to get good game time in JDT and I cannot be in the comfort zone. I will have to continue to improve a lot,” added Syamer.
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