BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Young Selangor star Syahmi Safari is ecstatic following his debut appearance for the Malaysia senior team, which he collected in their 7-0 mauling of Bhutan in an international friendly last Sunday.
The 20-year old, who has only made sporadic appearances for Malaysia U-23 under head coach Dato' Ong Kim Swee, was called up for the senior team's series of international matches last month, culminating in his first ever appearance for the Harimau Malaya, as a 78th minute substitution against Bhutan.
When met a Puma promotional event in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, the fullback thanked Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe for the opportunity, while admitting that he has to work harder in order to secure a more permanent spot.
"I'm very grateful to Coach Tan for giving me the chance to play that night, it's an honour to make my debut for the country. It was a priceless experience even though it was a one-sided match.
"But I have to work harder and be consistent now, I have to play better in the league because that's how Tan selects us," remarked the 2017 President's Cup winner.
And he looks forward to doing that with Selangor, with former youth and assistant head coach Nazliazmi Nasir recently appointed fulltime head coach at the Red Giants, following Maniam Pachaiappan's 'resting' by the club.
"As long as I show my commitment in training I think I'll be fine, because I've trained under Nazli before during my President's Cup time, for about two years.
"I know his style, so what's left is for me to prove it to him in training and matches, and show improvement," said the youngster.
Commenting on Selangor's first leg quarter-final match against Kuala Lumpur this Saturday, Syahmi remarked that although his team have beaten their Klang Valley derby rivals earlier in the season, they must not underestimate the Hawks this time around as Kuala Lumpur (KL) have since produced shock wins over JDT and Kedah.
"KL have improved, as shown in their wins over Kedah and JDT. We can't take them lightly, we must play even better this Saturday to give ourselves the advantage in the home tie," Syahmi told Goal.