PENANG: Since bursting into the M-League scene in 1999 as an exciting 18-year-old goalscorer, Hasmawi Hassan has been a regular in the Penang first eleven.
Over the past four seasons, the striker has been among the first names to be jotted on the teamsheet by coach Irfan Bakti and former coach Moey Yoke Ham.
In the last four years, the Penang No.20 has been paired alongside Azman Adnan, G. Shanmugam, Faizal Zainal, Ooi Hoe Guan, Mohd Fareed Shah, D. Samuel Raj, Anuar Abu Bakar and Argentinian Gustavo Romero.
This year, though, things could change following the inclusion of former Pahang and Terengganu striker Wan Rohaimi Wan Ismail in the squad.
With Romero as the established striker in the team, the second striker's position is now a toss-up between Hasmawi and Wan Rohaimi.
But rather than feeling threatened, the 22-year-old Hasmawi is relishing the competition and pressure created by Wan Rohaimi's presence.
“The competition is good for the team, and for the strikers in particular. We will always be kept on our toes.
“Romero has adapted well to Malaysian football while Wan Rohaimi's experience is always useful for any team which he plays in. Although I hate to be watching the action from the sidelines, it is more important that the coach uses his best players for a match,” said Hasmawi.
The striker, however, is optimistic of having done enough in training to be selected for his maiden Charity Shield appearance this Sunday.
“I am not the only one who is excited about playing Selangor on Sunday. The others have also been putting in extra effort in the pre-season friendlies and during training.
“I hope we can use the home support to our advantage. A victory on Sunday would be a perfect start for Penang's 2003 campaign,” he said.