Three strikes, and Hadi could join the big-time in Japan

Malaysia's Mohamad Hadi Fayyadh with team on traning session during Asian Games 2018 at Football field Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, Indonesia. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.

PETALING JAYA: Scoring a hattrick is usually no big deal but for Malaysia’s Under-23 striker Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak (pic), it could mark a new chapter in his football career in Japan.

Hadi, who plays for Fagiano Okayama, scored three against the team’s Under-18 squad recently to catch the eye of the J-League II club’s manager Kenji Arima.

The lanky striker, who also made a assist in the match, has yet to start a competitive game with his club but his hattrick could put him in the reckoning for a first-team start soon.

The man who took the 20-year-old to Japan, Yakult Malaysia managing director Hiroshi Hamada, said he understands the frustration of Malaysian fans as they have did not get to see their star in any first-team action last year but added that it was a normal process.

“In Japan, a young player has two chances to earn a contract, once at the age of 18, when they finish their studies in secondary school or football academy, or at the age of 22, when they are done with university, ” said Hamada.

“This season in the J-League, 56% of players are university graduates, 30% are from academies and 14% from secondary schools. It takes several years of training with a club before progressing in Japan.

“It is the same with Hadi. The club’s coaching staff are monitoring and ensuring that his performance gets better. If he is given a chance to play in the league, he can be considered one of the best players in the league in the 18-22 age group.”

Hamada hopes Malaysians would be patient with Hadi’s progress.

“Give him time, because we cannot expect him to get into the first team immediately. In Japan right now, players who are 22 and above are given priority.

“We hope his hattrick will lead to an opportunity soon. It is a process that will only make him stronger.”

Last season, Hadi only featured for his club in the J-League Ikusei, a competition for players who do not get regular playing time in the main competitions.

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