Cheng Hoe: Quick end to Safawi’s Portugal stint will still benefit him

JDT's Safawi Rasid thanking the JDT supporters after their team win over Selangor in their semi-final second leg match at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday. IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/ The Star. October 26,2019.

PETALING JAYA: National football coach Tan Cheng Hoe believes Safawi Rasid’s (pic) premature end to his stint in Portugal should not be viewed negatively.

Malaysia and Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) winger Safawi joined Portugal’s top division club Portimonense three months ago but has not played a single match for the club.

JDT owner and Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim announced during a talk show on Astro Arena on Thursday that the 23-year-old Safawi would return to play for JDT in the Super League next season.

“He trained with a team that play in a top Europe league. I expect Safawi to come back a much confident player for JDT and Malaysia. It is good that he got such exposure and I believe Safawi will be a better player, ” said Cheng Hoe.

It’s unsure why Safawi is ending his one-year stint prematurely but it could be linked with the lack of opportunities playing with the team.

Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail also said JDT have already signed young Fielda United midfielder Daniel Amier Norhisham and may also hire American-Malaysian Isaac Angking, who played for New England Revolution in Major League Soccer (MLS).

He also said talks are ongoing to get national winger Mohamadou Sumareh who currently plays for Thai club Police Tero FC but would first speak to his former club Pahang.

In the talk show, Tunku Ismail said the club tried to sign former Brazilian international Alexandre Pato, but he decided to move to the United Arab Emirates and the club have now set their sights on getting a 28-year-old Argentinian striker who he did not reveal.

“Yes, JDT fans have asked about many players including Germany and Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. With teams in China, Japan and the UAE investing big on players, it is hard for us to compete with them to sign any stars. There are no big-name players who will sign for anything less than US$2mil (RM8.06mil), ” Tunku Ismail said in the interview.

“For just one player, that doesn’t make sense for the club. We don’t want to use the majority of our financial power for only one player and neglect the others or even our development work.

“We had a chance with Pato who was available and I found out that it would take around US$1.8mil (RM7.2mil) for his salary. One United Arab Emirates club offered more than US$2mil and we could not compete with that.”

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