The rise of Amirul Hisyam

Kedah’s young sensation Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik is going places after a splendid start with the Red Eagles. He tells Vijhay Vick of his homecoming up North and desire in cementing a place in the national team. 

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It is one thing idolising a home boy hero.

I idolised Baddrol when I was in high school and always wanted to play with him

Most football fans have, at one point or another, tried to emulate their boyhood hero on the pitch.

While some succeed in replicating tricks, shots and technique, it is not often they go on to line-up alongside their idols.

For 21-year-old Amirul Hisyam, he is living the dream.

Growing up, he watched Baddrol Bakhtiar break into the Kedah squad and win a domestic double treble in 2007 and 2008.

Baddrol won the hearts of many supporters when he stuck with the team through thick and thin following Kedah’s relegation from the Malaysia Super League (MSL) in 2012.

Presently, Kedah are back in the top flight after winning the 2015 Malaysia Premier League (MPL) and Amirul, who returned after spending three years under the Harimau Muda development project, has cemented a starting place, lining-up with his idol week-in week-out.

Amirul, who was given the nod in FourFourTwo’s 10 potential Malaysia call-ups, is currently in Jeddah with the national team for the first time.

The Malaysians play Saudi Arabia in their final World Cup qualifier match on Thursday.

“I’ve been aiming for the national team and fortunately I’m getting a lot of games in Kedah,” Amirul told FourFourTwo.

Amirul has worked his way into OKS's national set-up

“The style of play – the short passing game – has made it easier for me to fit into the squad … especially with Liridon Krasniqi and Sandro da Silva Mendonca in the engine room. I’m used to this style of play with Harimau Muda, so it helps too.

“The more experienced players at Kedah like Baddrol, Krasniqi and Khairul Helmi Johari have been helpful in guiding me. It’s really an honour to play alongside some of them.

“I idolised Baddrol when I was in high school and always wanted to play with him … I didn’t expect it this soon to be honest. He has good vision and has an influential impact on the team. I hope I can play in the national team with him too,” said Amirul.

Amirul, who also supports Barcelona and idolises their captain Andres Iniesta, was a product of the Tunku Anum state sports school prior to joining Harimau Muda in 2013.

He was initially picked to join Kedah’s 2013 President Cup squad but impressed coaches at a selection conducted by Harimau Muda C.

He then went on to be part of Ong’s squad that played in the Queensland Premier League in 2014 and the SEA Games last year.

Last year, he also played in the S. League under Razip Ismail in 2015 but told FourFourTwo, he could not have asked for a better time to return from the S. League.

Harimau Muda has since been disbanded after Malaysia and Singapore ended their four-year partnership that saw development teams compete across the Causeway.

“The S. League last year was good exposure. At Harimau Muda, we’ve always been playing older players and the Singapore adventure was another part of getting prepared to match the big boys from a young age,” he said.

“I wouldn’t compare both leagues because the nature of the teams I was in were different. But it’s good to be back in the MSL for sure. Especially considering I’m getting games and the league is getting very competitive.

“I’m still pushing myself to become an even better player. Among the things I need to work on are my size and movements. I’ve made it to the Kedah 11, I’ve made it to the national team and now I want to earn a starting place in the national team,” said Amirul.