PETALING JAYA: National midfielder Syamer Kutty Abba’s bid to make the starting XI in the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup Group G qualifying matches has received a big boost – he has been named in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) best XI.
The tough-tackling midfielder was a key figure in the Harimau Malaya’s run in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup where they finished runners-up.
This year, he has only earned five caps and his latest appearance was in the 1-0 win over Tajikistan in a friendly match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Nov 9.
Besides Syamer, striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and rightback Syahmi Safari were also named in the AFF best XI.
Syamer said it felt good to be recognised for his efforts with the national team.
“I’m really happy to be selected among the Best XI. Credit goes to my team because, without them, I could not have achieved this. This award certainly gives me the motivation to work even harder and get better, ” said the Penang local.
The 22-year-old Syamer had been a regular of the Harimau Malaya squad since the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup but game time became a premium with the inclusion of Australia-born Brendan Gan and a tactical decision to use striker Syafiq Ahmad in midfield.
However, Syamer is expected to make the starting XI in qualifying matches against Thailand on Thursday and Indonesia on Nov 19 at the National Stadium.
He showed his mettle in the win over Tajikistan and is expected to get the nod from national team coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
“It’s good for me to get playing time after some time... it was tough for me to get the tempo when I first joined the senior team but I have no problem now, ” said Syamer.
“However, there are still a number of things for me to improve on because the intensity is different at international level.”
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