PETALING JAYA: Matthew Davies lighted up Pahang’s bleak season after picking up the Young Player of the Year award at the National Football Awards.
The 20-year-old Australian-born Malaysian was the only player from the east coast side to clinch an award out of the 17 at stake at the awards ceremony at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre on Friday.
Davies flew in from Perth to receive the award and was thrilled to win an accolade for his side.
“It’s great to be recognised by your peers and I’m honoured. I feel so happy to win this award,” said the former Perth Glory player.
“I dedicate this award to all the Pahang fans. We were fighting for all the titles – Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup – but ended up empty-handed. I hope this award will placate our fans,” added Davies.
Pahang were the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup champions in 2014. This season, they were knocked out in the semi-finals of both competitions.
In the Super League, Pahang finished second behind Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT). But they dropped to third after being docked six points by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for failing to settle former player Mohammed Borji’s salaries.
This cost Pahang a place in next season’s AFC Cup.
But it has been a good year for Davies despite Pahang’s failure.
He joined Pahang in April on a three-year contract after impressing in the trials and went on to claim a regular place in the team as the rightback.
He was so impressive that he was called up to play for the national Under-23 team at the Singapore SEA Games in June. From there on, he progressed to the senior national team and featured in five matches.
For next season, Pahang will be coached by Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi following Zainal Abidin Hassan’s decision to quit the team.
Davies believes coach Shah, formerly Zainal’s assistant, is a good replacement.
“Coach Shah has a good rapport with the players. He’s a former international and he understands players well... I hope everything goes well for the team next season,” said Davies.