SHAH ALAM, June 25 — Selangor 2 youth players including national Under-18 sensation, striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin will have the chance to be absorbed into the Selangor main squad this season.
Selangor head coach B. Sathianathan did not deny that it was also to fulfil the wishes of some supporters of the Red Giants squad who would like to see more young players, especially Luqman Hakim, be given playing time in the main squad.
Sathianathan said he believes in being open in giving young players the opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level, but players must earn his trust and confidence first.
“I have given opportunities to Indra (Indra Putra Mahayuddin), Shukor (Muhammad Shukor Adan) and Hairuddin (Hairuddin Omar) and many other young players. I don’t mind at all it but I won’t do it based on their popularity.
“To me, the great performances shown in the last six to eight months are now history. I want to see what they are able to bring to the table now. I am waiting for feedback from Selangor 2 head coach, Michael Feichtenbeiner. Based on reports and observation, I have selected five players,” he told Bernama today.
The 62-year-old coach said that U-18 national captain Muhammad Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi was one of the five players from the Selangor 2 youth team he had his eyes on.
Luqman Hakim, who is reportedly considering an offer to join the Belgian Professional League team KV Kortrijk as well as several European clubs, stands a good chance of being absorbed into the Selangor squad if he excels in the Premier League campaign with Selangor 2.
Sathianathan said young players need to challenge and prove themselves to grab the positions usually filled by import players to get into the main squad.
“Opportunities are there but they have to prove themselves. They cannot rely on popularity alone. Players have to show their mettle on the field for me to absorb them into the Selangor main squad. Anyone in Selangor 2 including older players stands a chance if he plays well.
“Being 18 or 19 is not considered young anymore, what I do is I include a vastly talented player into the team to see if he is any better than import players who play in the same position. Secondly, does he shine in Selangor 2?
Selangor is currently in fifth place in the Super League, five points behind leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), after recording one win and two draws in the early season matches. — Bernama