Wahyudi keen to learn from Rangel duel

Hougang United defender Wahyudi Wahid was grateful to be given the opportunity to take on Selangor forward Paulo Rangel during last night’s Sultan of Selangor’s (SOS) Cup clash, as he continues his transformation from striker to centre-back.

Rangel cemented his reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in Malaysia as he landed a brace in Selangor Selection’s 2-1 victory over Singapore Selection last night.

Wahyudi, who was on the receiving end at centre back, rated his own performance a seven out of 10 and believes that playing against such a top-class player will only help his development as a player.

“Rangel’s just superb tonight, I simply don’t know how to tackle him,” he told FourFourTwo after the game.

“It’s a really good experience to play against him and everyone really worked hard (to mark him).”

This has been a solid year for the 24-year-old, who has played most of the season alongside Igor Cerina at the heart of the Hougang United defence. Previously a forward, he had to change his position since joining the Cheetahs at the start of the year.

“Coach Amin (Nasir) was looking for defenders then,” he shared.

“When I joined Hougang, he told me don’t think about being striker anymore because there’s plenty of them in the squad. He wants me to be a defender.”

Despite his obvious height disadvantage (1.72m), it seems like he has adapted to playing at centre back like fish to water and he is keen to attribute that to his defensive partner.

“I’m very comfortable with this position, that’s why I’ve been doing well so far,” said Wahyudi.

“To me, to play centre back, you need an experienced leader like Igor. He has guided me a lot this year, if not I’ll be really lost. Also it helps when I can jump quite high.”

It is to the extent that he sees himself settling down in that position for the long run.

“Right now, I’m focusing to working in defence,” he shared.

“Although I still miss playing as a striker, I’m okay with that as long as I have the playing time and can collect experience.”

For now, the experience of the SOS Cup has fulled Wahyudi’s ambitions of playing overseas.

“Everyone has their own targets,” said the former Geylang International player.

“It’s very difficult to make the national team but hopefully by working hard, foreign or Malaysian clubs can notice and I can get to play for them. Honestly, who does not like to play in front of big crowds?”