Malaysia prospect Amirul grateful for S.League exposure

Kedah’s young sensation Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik is going places after a splendid start with the Red Eagles. He tells Vijhay Vick how his exposure in the S.League helped his development. 

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It is one thing idolising a home boy hero.

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

While some succeed in sorts of 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 especially 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.

After spending three years under the Harimau Muda development project, Amirul is now at Kedah lining-up alongside his idol week-in week-out.

This, he said, was made possible after his various exposure over the last few years, especially in the S.League under Razip Ismail in 2015.

“The S. League last year was good exposure for me. 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,” Amirul told FourFourTwo.

“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.

Apart from cementing a starting place in Kedah, Amirul has also been called up to Malaysia's international set-up by Ong Kim Swee. The Malaysians play Saudi Arabia in their final World Cup qualifier match on Thursday.

But the youngster was not about to get carried away, as he affirmed his desire to continue his growth as a player for both club and country.

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

“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,

“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.

Photo: Kedah FA