Asia 50: Five Malaysians that could make it next year

5. Ahmad Hazwan Bakri – Selangor

This former Harimau Muda starlet was tipped to be Malaysia’s answer to their woes in the striking department but is yet to establish himself in the national team.

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Yet the odds favour Hazwan in cementing a starting place in the near future. His mentor at Harimau Muda, Ong, is now Malaysian coach while the arrival of R. Gopinathan and controversy surrounding Mauro Olivi could allow Hazwan more playing time in a central role at club level.

The 24-year-old Labuan-born forward could be Ong’s replacement for the ageing Safee Sali and Amri Yahyah, who at 35 is still Malaysia’s liveliest player up front.

Hazwan scored seven goals in the MSL last year and only then-teammate Afiq Azmi had a higher count (eight) among the Malaysian strikers. Hazwan was played on the left-flank throughout the season and was Selangor’s 2015 Malaysia Cup hero after his two goals sunk Kedah in the final.