PETALING JAYA: Omar Raiyan Kama Azlan is slowly but surely making waves in football at Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
The 16-year-old Malaysian is not eligible to play official matches for the club’s youth set-up yet due to FIFA’s Article 19 on Protection of Minors which stipulates that international transfers are only permitted if the player is over 18.
Omar has obviously made giant progress in terms of technical and tactical abilities as he has been training with the club’s Under-17 and Under-19 squads.
“I am thankful to Red Star for believing in me and investing in my football education even though my registration with FIFA failed three times due to Article 19, ” said the Chartwell International School student.
“As I am not able to play in the official leagues, Red Star still give me the exposure and competitive edge till I reach 18 when Article 19 will no longer apply to me.”
Omar said the year so far had been tough on him but the club have been supportive of his endeavours and he would repay their faith by putting in extra effort in training to improve.
“It has been tough. My father (Kama Azlan) had to return to Abu Dhabi as his business in Belgrade failed and my mother lost her job of 20-plus-year due to the global economic recession impacted by Covid-19. In Serbia, I am supported by my guardian, club and family friends. My grades are good and I am happy to be here chasing after my dream.”
Omar hopes to play for Malaysia or any European club.
Red Star Under-17 coach Nikola Djurovic revealed that Omar has a bright future.
“His progress was evident when he moved from the Under-17 squad to train with the Under-19 team. He played a friendly with the Under-23 team and left a good impression, ” said Djurovic, who added that Omar will certainly be one of the best players in Asia one day.
Omar’s representative, Razeen Khalid of Activ8 Sports Agency, revealed that talks have been ongoing with the national Under-19 and Under-23 team on his progress in Serbia.
“Coach Brad Maloney is kept up-to-date with Omar’s progress with Red Star Belgrade’s Under-17 Winter league matches, Under-19 training and Red Star’s Under-23 (Graphicar) friendly matches. Coach Tan Cheng Hoe has also been informed and Omar’s latest playing videos have been sent to the various team coaches, ” said Razeen.