We are grown-ups now, says Luqman

KUALA LUMPUR: National Under-23 striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin believes the Harimau Muda squad have matured well and can challenge the bigger nations at the AFC Under-23 Asian Cup in Qatar next month.

Luqman, who plies his trade with Japanese third-division side YSCC Yokohama, said his teammates have shown positive improvements ahead of the tournament though believes there is still room for improvement.

"From what I see all players are in good condition, we will take things step-by-step," said Luqman.

"I believe this team is more mature now. We had yet to mature before this but now we have 'grown up' and know what needs to be done. We are adults now in a footballing sense.

"After getting a few friendly matches under our belt, I am satisfied with how things have gone and we still have a few more weeks to prepare before the competition starts.

Luqman is one of two overseas-based players in the squad besides Waldhof Mannheim's Annil Vigneswaran.

He is, however, aware that he still has to earn his place in the starting 11.

"Competition (for a place in the team) is tough because everyone is giving it their best. It is not easy for me, I have to fight for my place in the team."

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