From Luqman Hakim to Arif Aiman - Meet the future of Malaysia

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Goal counts down the top 10 Malaysian talents born on or after January 1, 2001.

  1. Luqman Hakim
    Sports Regime

    Luqman Hakim

    Arguably the most talked about teenage footballer in Malaysia at the moment and it is because what he has shown first for the Malaysia U16 national team in 2018 and then doing the same despite making the step up to the U18 level in 2019. 

    Blessed with bags of pace, Luqman has been able to match that with a keen eye for goal. Ong Kim Swee already gave the forward a chance in the 2019 SEA Games and Tan Cheng Hoe is a known admirer.

    As is Goal! Coming in at 49th spot, Luqman is one of the 50 most talented teenage footballers on the planet.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Luqman Hakim opens up on European dream, Selangor FA move and MSL obstacles

  2. Mukhairi Ajmal

    Mukhairi Ajmal

    From the 10 players listed here, Mukhairi is undoubtedly the one with most exprience having been thrusted into the spotlight by Abu Bakar Fadzim when he was still with PKNP FC last season. Already gained his first starts in the Malaysia Cup as well as a competitive goal to his name, Mukhairi is well ahead of his peers.

    A midfielder with the physique to match, Mukhairi could still further develop in terms of size which could make him a formidable asset for club and country. Dynamic and possessing the nose the goal, Mukhairi has that rare capability of timing his runs into the box from deep.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Malaysian wonderkid Mukhairi dreams of emulating idol Ozil, playing on alongside Luqman

  3. Aidil Azuan

    Aidil Azuan

    Another one that came to the fore with PKNP last season under the tutelage of Abu Bakar Fadzim, who has already referred to Aidil as Malaysia's own Andrea Pirlo, such is his admiration of the youngsters talents. 

    Got his senior team debut in 2019, the midifelder is one of those cultured central playmakers who just consistently worked  the ball around the pitch. Just like Mukhairi, has since earned a big move to Selangor while temporarily learning his trade in the second division with the second team.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Aidil Azuan, the Selangor youngster who idolises Pirlo and dreams of vying with Syahmi Safari

  4. Harith Haiqal

    Harith Haiqal

    The heir apparent to Shahrul Saad in future Malaysia national team, such is Harith's maturity and progress that the two could even feature together as a pair in the near future. The centre back is highly thought of within the game and has already broken through to the Malaysia Under-23 side.

    Harith's courage and defensive qualities at the back is matched by what he can do at the other end of the pitch as Indonesia found out to their cost during the 2019 AFF U18 Championship semi-final when he scored a penalty and a header to help Malaysia reach the final.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Harith Haiqal - Malaysia's answer to Joe Gomez who's ready to show what he can do at the highest level

  5. Firdaus Kaironnisam

    Firdaus Kaironnisam

    Has a famous father in Kaironnisam Sahabudin who was a feature for the Malaysia national team as a centre back, forming a great partnership with Norhafiz Zamani Misbah. Firdaus though is slightly different from his father in that he plays slighly ahead in central midfield.

    Hailing from Perlis, the 18-year-old player is very tidy on the ball and was one of the important member of the Under-16 side that Lim Teong Kim handled previously. One of the four players that recently had a training stint with Cerezo Osaka in Japan.

  6. Sikh Izhan Nazrel

    Sikh Izhan Nazrel

    Another one of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) graduate, the 18-year-old Sikh Izhan already towers in size comparatively to many of the goalkeepers currently in plying their trade in the Super League and Premier League, who are vastly more experienced than him. 

    In his time with NFDP, he helped them win the 2015 Iber Cup in Spain and was also voted the best keeper in the 2016 Elite Cup in France. Now with Selangor 2, Sikh Izhan has been getting regular starts, earning the trust of Michael Feichtenbeiner.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWMeet Sikh Izhan, Malaysia U-19 goalkeeper who travelled 600km to weekly training by himself at age 10

  7. Umar Hakeem
    Sports Regime

    Umar Hakeem

    Unlike many of his peers, Umar Hakeem has chosen to join Johor Darul Ta'zim II after his time with NFDP has come to a natural end. Yet to feature for his new team in the Premier League but it is a matter of when rather than if.

    Many would have seen Umar's exploits for Malaysia in the 2019 SEA Games in Philippines where he was used predominantly on the left hand side, and in fact had a better outing in the tournament than his compatriot, Luqman.

  8. Zikri Khalili
    FA Selangor

    Zikri Khalili

    Moulded in the shape of a modern full back where he needs to be equally adapt in defence and in attack, Zikri's emergence has seen him being courted by various teams at the end of his NFDP tenure.

    Now with Selangor 2, he has already been a regular feature in the team and is a potent weapon for the Premier League side down the left hand channel.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Reading up on research articles just part of Zikri Khalili's effort to reach Europe

  9. Najmudin Akmal

    Najmudin Akmal

    Seen as a precocious talent, Najmudin has always been someone who has been asked to play at higher age-groups than he should have been. He was a year younger than most players when during the AFC U16 Championship in 2019.

    Up-and-coming talented forward is a rare commodity in Malaysia. With Luqman taking all the attention, Najmudin has been allowed to grow a bit under the radar.

    EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Najmudin Akmal, budding Malaysian striker (and chef) who wants to play like Lewandowski

  10. Arif Aiman
    Johor Southern Tigers

    Arif Aiman

    Thrusted into the spotlight in the recent Super League match against Felda United, Johor Darul Ta'zim is showing massive faith in Arif's abilities to throw him onto the pitch when there were more experienced options around.

    Small in stature but brave in application, Arif is the modern day attacker who is comfortable operating from the flanks and will always look to beat the first man with his skills.

    FULL STORY: Inside the JDT academy - How MSL giants aim to replicate Real Madrid's Zidanes and Pavones philosophy