‘Amer­i­can Messi’ just wants to en­joy the game de­spite gar­ner­ing na­tional at­ten­tion

New Straits Times - - Sport - RE­PORTS BY AJIT­PAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

WAN Kuzain Wan Ka­mal’s pro­fes­sional de­but with United Soc­cer League’s (USL) club Swope Park Rangers has grabbed at­ten­tion in Malaysia.

How­ever, the 19-year-old just wants to en­joy the game and take the next step for­ward as he aims to play for a Ma­jor Soc­cer League (MSL) team one day.

Known as “Amer­i­can Messi”, he has huge am­bi­tions as he also dreams of play­ing in the World Cup.

His fa­ther, Wan Ka­mal Napi said the next step for his son is the MLS or Europe.

“I don’t know about play­ing for Malaysia… can’t say more right now. It is to­tally dif­fer­ent when it comes to com­pet­i­tive foot­ball in Malaysia.

“It dif­fers not just in the play­ers’ men­tal­ity but the struc­tures and or­gan­i­sa­tional be­hav­iour are not the same com­pared to the United States.

“So far, no one from Malaysia has ap­proached Wan Kuzain.

“He was born here and so I can­not say any­thing about mov­ing back to Malaysia. My son prefers to take thing slowly and de­cide later over his fu­ture,” Wan Ka­mal told Time­s­port from Chicago yes­ter­day.

Wan Ka­mal said Wan Kuzain is ex­pected to en­rol at Akron Univer­sity in Ohio in Septem­ber.

“The univer­sity is the No 1 in­sti­tu­tion for foot­ball in the US. He will prob­a­bly be ma­jor­ing in busi­ness and com­puter sci­ence.

“Wan Kuzain, how­ever, must de­cide be­tween univer­sity and play­ing foot­ball pro­fes­sion­ally. He has plenty of time to de­cide be­fore the Septem­ber in­take. I will leave it to him to make a de­ci­sion,” he said.

The left-footed mid­fielder started and played for 75 min­utes on his pro­fes­sional de­but in the 3-1 win over OKC En­ergy FC last week­end.

Wan Kuzain topped the charts for most ac­cu­rate pass­ing in week one of the USL at 96.1 per cent.

“He made a mark in the match. His main trade­mark is ac­cu­racy in pass­ing.

“He is still a kid and is learn­ing all as­pects of be­com­ing a good foot­baller.

“At five feet 11 inches, he is tall and nat­u­rally fits well for foot­ball,” said Wan Ka­mal, adding that his son picked up the game when he was four years old.

In 2015, Wan Kuzain was in­vited to join the US Un­der-17 World Cup train­ing squad but missed the tour­na­ment in Chile due to in­jury.

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