Friday, 9 December 2011

Nazmi Faiz wants to break into senior team

Muhamad Nazmi Faiz Mansor is a boy in a big hurry.

Standing at 1.67m, the 17-year-old student wants to break into the senior football team next year.

Nazmi has already won rave reviews for his performance with the national Under-23 squad. A last minute call-up, Nazmi, the youngest member of the team, showed maturity beyond his age.

Used as a playmaker, Nazmi pulled the strings to help Malaysia defend the gold medal in last month’s Indonesia SEA Games.

He proved to be a revelation at the Games with coach Ong Kim Swee likening him to former midfield maestro Azizol Abu Haniffah.

Gem of a goal: Muhamad Nazmi Faiz Mansor celebrates after scoring against Bahrain in the Asian Zone Olympic final round qualifying match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last month.

Nazmi, however, is taking all the praises in his stride.

“It’s important for me to stay level-headed and not let the success go to my head. There is plenty of room for improvement. I need to work harder to get into the senior team.”

Nazmi is also a mean striker of the ball as shown in the Under-23’s 3-2 defeat by Bahrain in the Asian Zone Olympic final round qualifying matches last month. He scored a 30m screamer and controlled the midfield before being substituted due to cramps.

Besides aiming to join the senior team, Nazmi, a student of Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), also plans to sit for his SPM examination next year.

While other schoolboys will be enjoying their school holidays, Nazmi has no such luxury.
He will be joining the national U-23 team in a tour of Australia where they will play A-League sides Sydney FC (Dec 13), Central Coast Mariners (Dec 15) and Newcastle Jets (Dec 19).

The squad leave for Australia on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to the trip to Australia. I hope the experience playing there will help my development to be a better player,” said Nazmi.

The friendlies in Australia are part of the Under-23 team’s preparation for the Singapore League scheduled to kick off on Feb 10 and the remaining Asian Zone Olympic final round qualifying matches.

In the qualifiers, the team will be up against Bahrain at the Bahrain National Stadium on Feb 5, Syria at the Prince Mohammed Stadium on Feb 22 and Japan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on March 14.

Malaysia’s hopes of making it to the Olympics are virtually over after losing all their opening three matches.

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