With four goals in as many matches, the Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) forward is at the top of his game and staking his claim as the country’s best winger, but coach Mario Gomez expects him not to stop there.
Malaysian football needs no introduction to S. Chanturu despite his international career never really taking off.
The 28-year-old speedster was a star performer in Kelantan’s successful years between 2010 and 2012, in which the Red Warriors won the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and Malaysia Cup twice, as well as the FA Cup once.
Chanturu was called up to the Malaysian squad in 2012 but did not get much playing time. Several niggling injuries saw him sidelined for the AFF Suzuki Cup at the end of the year and never made a return under K. Rajagobal.
He is putting in good performances every time I play him.
The Kedah-born lad tried to revive his career in Perak in 2013 but injuries got the better of him. The move to Sarawak in the 2014 season turned out to be a masterstroke as he not only won the hearts of the Ngap Sayot faithful with his performance.
He also earned a national team call-up and convinced Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) to come knocking ahead of the 2015 season.
But Chanturu flitted in and out of the national team last year but struggled to cement a his claim for a starting place. With Azamuddin Akil out injured, new Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee could hand Chanturu a start in the final World Cup qualifier group match against Saudi Arabia later this month.
While Chanturu played down his current performance, Gomez hailed the winger’s contribution to the club after his winner against Felda United on Tuesday.
“He is putting in good performances every time I play him. He has played four games and every game he scores one or two goals or at least makes an assist,” said the Argentine.
“My benchmark at this club is simple; he must keep improving. That is most important. I always tell my players this. If we don’t keep improving, we will allow the rest to catch up.”
Chanturu bagged a brace in JDT’s 5-0 away win at UiTM in the second round of the FA Cup a fortnight ago and opened the scoring in their 2-0 league win over Terengganu last Saturday.
Against Felda, Gomez introduced Chanturu as a half-time substitute after Mahali Jasuli was struggling to get the better of Adib Aizuddin Abdul Latif. Chanturu wearied the left-back, eventually leading to Adib’s sending off in the 62nd minute, and later burst into the box to perfectly execute Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s through ball to ensure three points.
When asked if he would consider himself among the best performing wingers in the country, Chanturu was quick to credit his teammates.
“My performance boils down to my teammates and how we click as a unit. I understand their movements and vice versa … that helps all of us perform better,” said Chanturu.
“As for the national team, I’ll leave it to the coach. For now, I believe I have a lot to learn from Gomez. He has been fine tuning my game and I feel I can get even better.”