Syamer Kutty Abba wants another European opportunity but is determined to earn his stripes at JDT and qualify for the AFC Champions League first.
Syamer Kutty Abba says he will take another European stint in a heartbeat, but his immediate aim is to fight for his Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) berth after returning from Portugal.
The lanky holding midfielder, along with defender Dominic Tan joined Portugal’s fourth division side Vilaverdense FC in January after helping the national Under-23 team to the quarterfinals of the AFC U23 Championship.
Despite only making one appearance in his five-month stint there, Syamer had seen enough to make Europe his aspirations for the near future.
“It was a good experience and exposure for me. Over there, it’s a different way of football and philosophy,” Syamer told FOX Sports Asia.
“The players are more physical, adept tactically and disciplined. I didn’t play much and language was also a barrier because only a few of my teammates spoke English.”
“But they were all supportive and we adapted well. If given a chance, I want to go back for sure. It is not easy for Malaysian footballers to make it to Europe, so I will not waste the opportunity if given another chance.”
Wiser in another football climate, culture and level of competitiveness, Syamer now wants to translate that experience to ensure JDT end their 2018 domestic campaign with a flourish.
But first, there is the small matter of earning his first-team spot in a highly competitive squad.
“The competition in JDT is high, so I know I will have to work extra hard to earn my stripes. The great thing about a club like JDT is our training is good, so I can use that to work hard and earn my place,” said Syamer.
The former Penang FA man knows if he impresses enough, he can feature at the holy grail of Asian football next year.
“It’s a dream to play in the (AFC) Champions League. I think it’s every footballers dream in this region to get a chance in that competition. It’s the biggest prize on offer, so that is motivation for me to do well.”
The champions of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) this season automatically qualify to the 2019 AFC Champions League.
The Southern Tigers have also beefed up their squad with Jorge Santos Silva, Harry Novillo and Kiko Insa for the second transfer window.
Syamer, who was signed from Penang before immediately loaned out, reckons the new additions will help JDT’s cause tremendously.
“They are all good signings and will only strengthen the team as we prepare to win the title again.”
Syamer could get his chance to make a first appearance when JDT host bottom side Negeri Sembilan in the league on May 23.