Syamer Kutty Abba wants to make most of Malaysia call up
New boy Syamer Kutty Abba has promised to live up to expectations after being called up to the Malaysia squad for their crucial AFC Asian Cup qualifier clash away to Hong Kong on Oct. 10.
The midfielder has had a breakthrough 2017, inspiring the Malaysia under-22 side to a silver medal in the men's football competition at August's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.
But less than a month later, Syamer was dealt heartbreak after his Penang side were relegated to the Premier League, following the 2-0 defeat to T-Team on Sept. 20.
He is now looking to put that episode behind him to inspire Nelo Vingada's team to their first three points in the qualifiers, if given the chance to make his senior debut.
"To be called up for the senior team at this age is an amazing opportunity, and I can't wait to learn a thing or two from the seniors," Syamer told ESPN FC.
"I am coming into the team at a crucial period when we desperately need a win to keep our chances of qualifying alive. If given a chance against Hong Kong, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution."
At only 20, Syamer is one of the youngest members of Vingada's 24-man squad who will face Kim Pang-gon's side at Hong Kong Stadium.
Malaysia, bottom of Group B with only a point after two home matches, are desperate for victory to revive their chances of making it to Asia's top international tournament.
The teams played out to a 1-1 draw in an incident-filled encounter at Hang Jebat Stadium on Sept. 5.
Syamer knows about the physicality of the former British colony, who, like Malaysia, have benefited from the naturalisation of foreign-born talent.
"They have many physically imposing players who can break down our moves from midfield, so we must be wary of that. I watched them against us, and I know we are in for a tough time," Syamer said.
"But we know what's needed from us, and we will do our best to come away with the win."
Syamer and his teammates will check in for centralised training on Wednesday at the Football Association of Malaysia headquarters.
Winless Vingada will have only two training sessions to put his mark on the team before they leave for Hong Kong late Thursday evening.
They were scheduled to play North Korea on Oct. 5 in another Asian Cup qualifier, but the match was postponed for a third time for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after Malaysian authorities issued a ban on travel to Pyongyang.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.