No stampede, Elephants are cool with their young

  • Football
  • Tuesday, 07 Jan 2020

PETALING JAYA: Pahang have lost big names in Lazarus Kaimbi, Saddil Ramdani, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and Safuwan Baharuddin. They should be pressing the panic button. But not captain marvel Matthew Davies.

The rightback is looking at the bright side. He admits that while Pahang have lost a lot of quality, it is also a chance for younger players in the setup to showcase their prowess.

The Elephants have yet to finalise their squad for the 2020 Super League and Matthew says they are in no rush to sign on import players.

“We have two months of pre-season, so the club is trying out some players. It is best not to rush our decisions, ” said the 24-year-old.

“There are some young decent players who are eager to stamp their mark in the group. The coach has also drafted four President Cuppers into the team.

“They are filling in well. We are preparing fine at the moment, and will slowly build our squad before the season starts.”

The Australian-born Matthew, who has been playing for Pahang since 2015, said the year 2019 was monumental for him as he played 49 matches for club and country, and hopes it continues into 2020.

“It was definitely a lot of work, and I am glad that I came into my own. We did not win any silverware, though.

“Right now, I just want to be positive. It is onwards and upwards from now on.”

Playing that many games requires a lot of sacrifices, and for Matthew, it was his family who are based in Perth. He has not been able to see his parents as often as he would have liked due to playing commitments.

His recent trip back to celebrate Christmas made him realise how important it was to be with loved ones.

“It is so, so important mentally. Family is everything. They have sacrificed so much. It’s not easy for them and for me, but they know the demands of my job.

“I was craving for a break like that to re-energise myself for the new season.”

For 2020, Matthew said he was looking forward to helping Malaysia achieve its target of qualifying for the 2023 Asian Cup and also do well in the AFF Suzuki Cup, scheduled for Nov 21 to Dec 27.

“It’s doable. We just have to keep working and aim for a little consistency. Also, a bit of luck when it comes to results.

“As for Pahang, I hope the youngsters will come good. We can see in training sessions that they are working very hard.”

For himself, Matthew wants to be on the team sheet week in, week out.

“I want to maintain my position and develop a few parts of my games. I want to be able to bomb forward with purpose and also defend well.

“I have always believed in working hard. That is something I will never change.”

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