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Selangor's Syahmi eschewing spotlight for the sake of defensive improvements

08:33 GMT+3 16/08/2019
Syahmi Safari, Malaysia U23 v China U23, AFC U23 Championship qualifier, 26 Mar 2019
Malaysia international Syahmi Safari explains why he has not been stealing the limelight at Selangor this season as often as he did in 2018.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

The 2019 season has been a year of improvements for 33-time Malaysia Cup champions Selangor, whose recent third-place Super League finish is their best in four years.

They currently lead Group D of the Malaysia Cup after two games, and are set to face the recently-promoted PDRM FA back-to-back in the coming week. Victory in both games will put them in the driving seat, to reach the knockout stage.

Red Giants right back Syahmi Safari believes that his team is able to hold on to the top spot.

"We need to get the three points this Sunday because although we are currently top, the gap with the rest of the teams are marginal.

"If we take the competition game-by-game and keep a clean sheet, like we did in our last game (1-0 away win over Melaka United), we can continue the momentum and finish as group winners," said the Malaysia international when met by Goal after training on Thursday.

But their improved performance this season has seen him dropping slightly off the radar as compared to his breakout season last year, and the 21-year old offered his explanation for this, besides the signing of more experienced players on Selangor's 2019 roster.

His performance last season for Selangor saw him earn a regular spot for Malaysia U-23, before his inclusion on the Malaysia senior team in the AFF Championship culminated in his stunning long-range goal for the Harimau Malaya in their second-leg semi-final match, against Thailand

"In 2018 I was fielded as an attacking player more often, which was one of the factors I was able to score seven or eight goals. This season I've been tasked with defending more, and have scored two goals. But that's not what matters, to be honest.

"The coach (B. Satiananthan) wants me to concentrate on defending because we've been conceding goals in almost every match this season. That's why our and my priority is on defending, especially when I myself still have defensive weaknesses that need working on," explained the Bukit Jalil Sports School graduate.

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