You’ve got to hand it to Syihan to man the posts

PETALING JAYA: Negri Sembilan’s Ahmad Syihan Hazmi (pic) is making a good case for himself as Malaysia’s first-choice goalkeeper in the AFF Mitsubishi Cup in December.

The 26-year-old stood out for the Harimau Malaya in the King’s Cup with commanding performances against Thailand and Tajikistan.

Making no less than nine superb saves in both games, Syi-han has received much praise from fans.

As he has manned the posts in Malaysia’s last three matches, he looks capable of replacing first choice, Johor Darul Ta’zim’s Farizal Marlias, as the nation’s top custodian.

Syihan, however, insists he still has a lot of work to do before he can be the No.1.

“I won’t let the praises get to my head. I’ll use them as motivation to get even better. I need to keep praying that good things happen not only to me but also to those around me,” he said.

“Now, I will head back to Negri and continue doing my best to get called up again.’’

Given his humility, Syihan seems to have learned much after going through some ups and downs in his career.

The 1.85m tall Syihan, who was part of the national Under-23 squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 AFC Championships, had endured a 20-month ban for failing a doping test while competing in the tournament. He returned to play for Petaling Jaya City in 2020.

This year, Syihan moved to Negri and has looked solid under coach K. Devan.

His safe handling in goal is a factor in the Deer’s fine run as they lie third in the Super League.

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