PETALING JAYA: Muhammad Shahrel Fikri Md Fauzi is torn between the state he loves and the club that gave him a platform to showcase his talents.
The national winger’s heart is with PKNP but he’s also considering Perak’s offer as he has always dreamt of playing for the state.
Contracted with PKNP till 2020, the 24-year-old Shahrel said he would only make a decision next week as he wants to assess his options first.
“I will report to training with PKNP on Jan 4. As a player, I’m still contracted with them. I want to be careful with my decision because I want first-team opportunities.
“My heart is with PKNP because they gave me the opportunity to play in the Super League and also granted my wish to play in Thailand.
“I’ll decide once I am back from my honeymoon,” said Shahrel, who got married last week.
Even though he was called up for the national squad to play in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the former Nakhon Ratchasima player said he was not happy with his performance and contribution in 2018.
Having achieved his dream of playing in the Malaysian Super League in 2018, the boy from Tawau, Sabah, scored nine goals in 17 games and was then loaned to play in Thai League 1 for Nakhon Ratchasima.
With the Thai club, he scored two goals in 12 games but could not extend his stay as the team were looking for a pure “number nine” striker.
Two Thai League 1 clubs were eyeing Shahrel, but bit-part roles in the AFF Suzuki Cup hampered his chance of getting a contract in Thailand.
“I did not play much for PKNP in the Super League. In the Thai League, I could not give my best because I took time to adapt.
“I would have loved to give more for both sides but I couldn’t. I felt that I was not at my best for 2018.”
For 2019, Shahrel said he wants to be one of the Super League’s top scorers.
“Whether it is Perak or PKNP, that’s my aim. I want to emulate the achievements of Shafiq Shaharudin, who was with Kelantan last season. I want to do better than 2018,” said Shahrel.
In 2017, Shahrel was the most lethal local finisher by scoring 20 goals in all competitions, which earned him the award for Best Attacker or Forward at the National Football Awards.
He also helped PKNP to finish third in the Premier League and was eyed by several clubs in Malaysia but penned a contract with the Manjung-based club till 2020.
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