Syahrian Abimanyu who is also affectionately known as Abi, has officially signed with Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) where he is the first Indonesian player that the Southern Tigers has took on since their rebranding exercise back in 2013.
Prior to this, JDT has shown to have a preference towards players from Singapore to fill the ASEAN slot in their team with four Singaporeans signing for the club since 2013 in Hariss Harun, Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan and Hafiz Sujad.
So this latest development brings about a change of tact for the 7-time Malaysia Super League champion with Abi's father, Rasiman revealing in an exclusive interview with Goal that JDT has been tracking his son for a long time but the move was delayed because of Abi's injuries.
"This is the outcome of a long process that started in 2018 when Abi was with the Indonesia U-19 national team where JDT scouts had pinpointed him as a potential tatent. They have been keeping tabs on him for years but because of injuries, the transfer move kept getting delayed year on year," said Rasiman, who is also the assistant coach at Madura United.
Rasiman sees the long-standing admiration for Abi as a positive sign that JDT views his son as a real prospect for the long-term. He also went on to suggest that it could be possible that Abi could one day become the successor to Hariss and that JDT is the right place for a young player to develop.
"It is definitely a long time for JDT to be watching Abi. With the ASEAN slot, perhaps JDT is already looking for the next ASEAN player who could take over from Hariss in the future, so maybe that will come in good time. My only hope for Abi is that he has to take advantage of this great opportunity.
"JDT is no stranger to being a club that wants their player to grow and be better. Take for example Safawi (Rasid) who earned a chance to go to the Portuguese league. It is my hope that the same can happen for Abi because JDT looks to me like a club who wants the best for their players, even if that means the player not being at the club."
As to where Abi will play with JDT, whether that is with the Super League side or elsewhere, Rasiman was unable to give a definite answer on that yet. He trust that JDT will have the right plans and structure to ensure that Abi stays on the right track.
"That is up to the team, for sure JDT knows what is best for Abi because they also want to see and reap the development. Be that at JDTII or elsewhere, I trust them to make the right decisions. We also know that Hariss could miss some games in the coming season and maybe Abi can step in there, or even be loaned to another Super League side.
"JDT are experienced enough to know what to do to develop players. I'm sure they have calculated everything in the best interest of the players and the club."