A good first impression means a lot to U-19 hopeful Kuzri

  • Football
  • Saturday, 18 Jul 2020

PETALING JAYA: National Under-19 trainee Wan Kuzri Wan Ahmad Kamal (pic) prefers to let his game do the talking.

Born and bred in the United States, the St Louis Football Club Academy midfielder joined the first phase training camp for the 2020 AFC Under-19 Championships on Thursday.

His much anticipated arrival was greeted with much excitement by fans and officials.

Even his elder brother, deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayshal, came to watch him train at Wisma FAM.

The 18-year-old Kuzri says he wants to prove that he has what it takes and be part of the next training phase, which will have most of the players who turned out in the championships’ qualifiers last year.

“I do not know much of this squad. I will see how I can fit and adapt into the team until July 26. I came here with an open mind, ” said Kuzri, in his thick American accent.

“For me, football is universal. The game I play in the United States, it will be translated here too. In the US, it is much more physical and there are lots of contacts.

“So, that has made me stronger physically. Right now, I am not putting much expectations. I’ll let my game do the talking.”

However, the creative playmaker, with the ability to score goals and make incisive passes, will not have it easy.

In his position, there are five other youngsters – Mukhairi Ajmal (Selangor), Zachry Raiff Ghazie Yeoh (Brooke House College Football Academy), Azam Azmi Murad, Muslihuddin Atiq (Terengganu) and Umar Hakeem Suhar Redzuan (Johor Darul Ta’zim) – vying for the final 23 spots to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

For now, he just wants to do his stuff and impress coach Brad Maloney.

“It is an opportunity to prove myself, ” said Kuzri, whose older brother Wan Kuzain Wan Ahmad Kamal plays for Sporting Kansas City in the Major League Soccer and was part of the 2019 SEA Games training squad.

“I know there will be comparisons with my brother, but I have been told by my family to go to the camp and make a good first impression.”

When asked about his international future, Kuzri did not indicate which side he would be leaning to.

“I would be honoured to represent either the United States or Malaysia. So, yeah.”

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