KUALA LUMPUR: In just two matches, young winger Nurfais Johari has made headlines by scoring a goal and making two assists for Penang.
Nurfais, who turns 19 on March 27, has rewarded coach Zainal Abidin Hassan's faith in his ability by making an immediate impact in his debut season.
After making several substitute appearances since the start of 2018, Nurfais was handed his first start against Police in an FA Cup second round match on March 4.
An encouraging performance in Shah Alam in Penang's 3-1 win led to another start against Johor Darul Ta'zim II in a Premier League match in Batu Kawan on March 9 when he scored the first goal in his team’s 2-0 victory.
"We brought Nurfais to train with the first team last year after noticing his talent although he did not play," said Zainal.
"He did very well in training and we decided to include him in some games this year. He has a very good attitude and after a brief run as a substitute, I felt he was ready to start.
"The goal he scored will give him confidence in the future although he has a lot to improve."
In the same way, Selangor’s Syahmi Safari and Kedah's Akhyar Rashid broke into their first-team squads last year and were rewarded with a place in the national team for the first time, Nurfais could be heading down the same path.
Equally adept at playing as a forward and in midfield, Nurfais was part of Bojan Hodak's squad at the AFF Under-18 Championship and AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers last year.
"He has a good future and will be a good asset for Penang," added Zainal.
"He has to show he can do it in bigger matches.
"He is still young and has good endurance so he has to make full use of this opportunity."