PETALING JAYA: Two-time Most Valuable Player Safawi Rasid has no intent to rest on his laurels.
With the pre-season preparation going full swing, the Johor Darul Tazim (JDT) winger wants to give another round of good show this year in the M-League.
He has been feeling right at home with his mates since they started training on Dec 5 at the JDT Training Centre in Padang Seri Gelam and he can’t wait for the Community Shield match against Kedah at their brand new stadium on Feb 29.
A lynchpin to the Southern Tigers, Safawi gave the thumbs up to their pre-season training. He said they have regained the much-needed fitness after the off-season.
“It’s good to be back with my teammates after the break. I have been with this club since 2017, and it always gives me great pleasure to play for this great club, ” said the player fondly known as Pawi.
“The squad are unchanged, and that does not disrupt our chemistry and harmony.
“Many clubs have strengthened their teams with calibre players, but in Johor, we look to give our best. I cannot wait for the season to start.”
Safawi’s stock rose in 2018 after he won the Malaysia Football League (MFL) most promising player, best midfielder and MVP after scoring 16 goals in 34 matches.
He proved even more lethal in 2019 when he scored 20 goals in 34 matches to win the MFL best striker, most popular player and also the MVP for the second year in a row.
The wizard from Dungun was instrumental for JDT as he helped the team hoist the Charity Shield, Super League and Malaysia Cup trophies. For the country, he played 10 matches and scored six goals.
His statistics do look impressive, but for Safawi, it is never enough.
“I knew the expectations would be higher when I won the MVP in 2018. I told myself that I needed to do better in 2019. Alhamdulilah (Praise to God), I retained it, ” he said.
“All these efforts are not solely because of me. I won these awards thanks to my teammates. From the youngsters - Akhyar (Rashid) and Syamer (Kutty Abba) to the foreigners, they have been ever-present in my success.
“The year 2020 will be tougher. I need to work on many things in my game, but I better not reveal it. My opponents should see it for themselves.” The inclusion of Liridon Krasniqi in the JDT squad has excited many fans in the country, and Safawi is looking forward to linking up with the Kosovan player.
“Liridon is a quality player, and we have seen some of his performances in the league.
“He is beginning to acclimatise to the JDT environment, which is good, ” he added.
Safawi is also aiming to be in the best shape as Malaysia have three more matches to play in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign – against the United Arab Emirates (March 26, away), Vietnam (March 31, home) and Thailand (June 9, away).
“The aim is obviously to qualify for the Asian Cup, and we will do our best to make sure that dream is fulfilled.”
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