Kedah FA’s latest recruit Shakir Hamzah knows he has to do better than the local players to justify his status as an import player from Singapore.
The 26-year-old defender made the move from Singapore Premier League giants Home United to Kedah, following his mentor and coach Aidil Sharin.
Shakir was an integral member of Aidil’s Home team that made history by winning the AFC Cup Zonal title earlier this year. He was also starter for Fandi Ahmad’s Lions at the recently concluded AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.
This will be Shakir’s first venture to play abroad and despite having one of his best seasons for the Protectors this year, the versatile defender who can play at left-back or centre-back knows what is at stake.
“I’m very excited and at the same time really nervous about joining such a big club like Kedah,” Shakir told FOX Sports Asia.
“This move has been a dream come true and I have to thank the Kedah bosses for believing in my abilities and giving me this opportunity to tests myself in Malaysia.
“It will not be easy because deep down inside, I know the fans, teammates and coaches will judge me as an import player on the team.
“I have to show that I’m better than the local players and lead by example. Although I’m nervous about it, I believe if I give my all, the rest will take care of itself.”
Joining Shakir at Kedah are Brazilian defender Renan Alves, Iraqi playmaker Anmar Almubaraki and Mitra Kukar’s Spanish forward Fernando Rodriguez and Jonathan Bauman.
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The team have played two pre-season friendlies against Kelantan FA and Perak FA. Aidil’s charges came away victorious and have looked like serious contenders for the title.
Speaking to FOX Sports Asia, Aidil is pleased with the way his new players have settled in, especially Shakir.
“Shakir has settled in very well and his professionalism since joining the team has been nothing short of tremendous,” Aidil said.
“He will only get better and better once the season kicks off and I have no worries about him. We need to keep working and making sure we are ready to go once the season kicks off.”
Photo credit: Kedah FA