SAFAWI HAS HIS FEET ON THE GROUND

Striker won’t al­low awards and re­wards to get to his head

New Straits Times - - SPORT - FARAH AZHARIE fara­hazharie@nstp.com.my

IN the past, many play­ers have fallen from grace fol­low­ing their fail­ure to per­form af­ter be­ing recog­nised with awards. How­ever, Safawi Rasid, who was crowned Most Valu­able, Best Mid­fielder and Best Young player at the re­cent Na­tional Foot­ball Awards, is de­ter­mined not to suc­cumb to pressure, es­pe­cially in the on­go­ing AFF Cup.

For the Jo­hor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player, he also does not see him­self as a su­per­star in the na­tional team.

“I am still the same old Safawi. I still play the same way,” said the 21-year-old.

“Foot­ball is a team sport. No player can dom­i­nate and win matches with­out the sup­port of his team­mates.

“Out­side the pitch, a player also needs his fam­ily, friends and coaches to sup­port him.

“Noth­ing has changed since I won the three awards.”

Safawi earned his 10th cap in Malaysia’s 1-0 win over Cam­bo­dia in Fri­day’s Group A match in Ph­nom Penh.

Al­though, Safawi did not score, he pro­vided the depth and in­ten­sity in at­tack to trou­ble Cam­bo­dia.

On the win, Safawi ad­mit­ted that Malaysia were not at their best.

“We made a lot of sim­ple mis­takes. I think we had a hard time with our short passes.

“Al­though, we prac­ticed our short passes in train­ing, things did not go as planned. We found it hard to con­trol the ball,” he noted.

Safawi ex­pects a bet­ter per­for­mance from his team when they take on Laos in Bukit Jalil to­mor­row.

“We need to se­cure our sec­ond win against Laos be­fore we head to Hanoi to face Viet­nam, who are al­ways strong at home.

“Fur­ther­more, Viet­nam are the group favourites, so we need to have that feel good fac­tor be­fore we face them,” he added.

Viet­nam de­feated Laos 3-0 in their open­ing match in Vi­en­tiane, also on Fri­day.

Safawi Rasid

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