JDT youngster Syafiq Ahmad eager for first Malaysia start against Bhutan

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

Malaysia’s latest attacking sensation Syafiq Ahmad is enjoying his time with the national team and aims for first win against Bhutan.

After scoring with a stupendous header against Lebanon, Malaysia striker Syafiq Ahmad is fired up to mastermind a first win in 12 attempts when the national team play Bhutan in aa international friendly on Sunday.

The young Johor Darul Ta’zim forward leveled the score against Lebanon with a near-post header, only for his effort to be undone in the dying stages as Malaysia lost 2-1.

But the all-round valiant performance served as motivation for Tan Cheng Hoe’s men, who will play the South Asian minnows at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

“We have a harmonious national camp, and everyone is in good spirits. Of course, if coach gives me a chance against Lebanon, I am going to take it,” Syafiq told FOX Sports Asia.

That header was Syafiq’s first goal for the senior team in only his second appearance from the bench.

But having played under Tan for almost three seasons with Kedah FA, the 22-year-old knows he can shine under the stewardship of the new head coach.

PERLAWANAN ANTARABANGSA "A" | AHAD, 1 APRIL 2018MALAYSIA lwn BHUTANStadium Nasional Bukit Jalil, 8.45 malam*Tiket…

Posted by Football Association of Malaysia (Official) on Thursday, 29 March 2018


“Coach Tan is still implementing entertaining football and we players enjoy the sessions as he doesn’t like to play long balls. His tactics are the same, and it will gradually grow on the team.”

With Malaysia reeling at 178 on the FIFA rankings and the fate of their national body hanging in the balance following the resignation of Tunku Sultan Ismail, a first win in 16 months would be priceless.

Up against Bhutan, the Harimau Malaya are expected to cruise to a win with home advantage.

The tiny nation, ranked 10 rungs below Malaysia, have been on the end of heavy thrashings by Oman (14-0), Palestine (10-0) and Maldives (7-0) in their last six international games.

But even so, underestimating their work rate and talent is the worst thing the national camp could do.

“I don’t know much about Bhutan, but I know we can’t take them lightly, especially when we are desperate for a win ourselves,” added Syafiq.

Tan is expected to field a much changed line-up from the Lebanon game, and that could mean a first start for Syafiq upfront, alongside Akhyar Rashid.

The last time Malaysia won an international match was when they beat Cambodia 3-2 in the 2016 AFF Cup group stage.