Van Huizen pleased with first season at LionsXII

LionsXII winger Christopher van Huizen believes he has improved as a player in his debut year and is hoping for more good tidings in the upcoming Malaysia Cup.

The 22-year-old ended his first season at the LionsXII in fine fashion as he laid on two assists for Safuwan Baharudin and Hafiz Sujad to score in the 3-0 win against Sime Darby on Saturday night.

Despite finding opportunities limited this season, Van Huizen was happy with his latest run in the team over the last few games as he started for the first time in the 2-1 defeat to Sarawak last Wednesday.

“It was disappointing initially because I was thinking I would be starting a lot more matches at this club,” the young LionsXII winger admitted.

“But I didn’t so all I did was work hard with seniors like Faris (Ramli) and Gabriel (Quak), who have pushed me all the way and got me to where I am today.”

Van Huizen said that it was sheer hard work and determination got him over the line in the end, as he jostled for places with Faris, Quak and Nazrul Nazari on the flanks.

“Because I started football quite late in my life, I had to work doubly hard and challenge myself to get to the level these players are at,” he said. “Most of the players at this club have a lot of experience from young.

“I knew that I’m not as big as players like (Khairul) Amri and Safuwan (Baharudin) to attack as much, so what I’m been working hard all season is to be the one providing the assists to these players.”

“That’s the aspect of the game that I constantly strive to do better in and I feel I’ve been improving throughout the season.’

With Malaysia Cup tournament set to kick off on September 11, the confident van Huizen is setting the bar high for himself and his teammates.

“I’m definitely hoping to win it,” the winger said. “This is my first season here and I don’t want it to be my last.

“Personally, what I would love to see is a Malaysia Cup final between (league champions) Johor Darul Ta’zim and us. That would be fantastic.”

Van Huizen notched two assists in the last game against Sime Darby. Photo: WX Lim

Meanwhile, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad is pleased with Van Huizen's development and has hinted that his charge could play an important part in their plans to lift a second trophy this year – having won the Malaysia FA Cup back in May.

“Chris is definitely one of the key figures who has been improving a lot,” the 53-year-old LionsXII head coach said. “He has been creating chances in every game and is always eager to learn in training.

“You can see that he’s gelling well with the other players and he gives us more options on the flanks.

“We still have Faris, Gabriel and Nazrul who we can look to rotate for the Malaysia Cup so that they won’t be too tired.

“Hopefully they can keep building on their experience in the league and carry their form into the Cup.”