Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal hopes to be a permanent fixture in the national team after finally joining the Under-22 training squad for the Philippines Sea Games.
The 21-year-old America-born Malaysian, who checked in with coach Ong Kim Swee at the MPSJ Stadium yesterday, admitted that this is his introduction to domestic football.
“I don’t know much about anyone, though I heard some bits here and there about everyone,” said Kuzain.
“The team just moved into the hotel, so I’m looking forward to training and seeing what’s on offer. Everyone is nice and friendly. I introduced myself to everyone and so far it’s been good.”
Kuzain, who scored one goal in six appearances for Sporting Kansas City in the Major Soccer League (MLS), described himself as a “calm and composed midfielder”.
“I can play as a number 6, 8 or 10. I’m comfortable in all three as well as in centre midfield. I like to impose myself, dictate the game, play the final ball and create my own chances,” said Kuzain.
“But, more importantly, (I’m) a guy who can be a good teammate, compete and work hard.”
With less than a week to go before the team depart for the Sea Games, Kuzain admits that the call-up “is meaningful”.
“It means a lot because every time you don national colours, you are not just representing yourself, but also your family and country,” he said.
Kim Swee, meanwhile, has called on netizens to give Kuzain time to prove his worth and compared the youngster’s presence in the squad to a budding relationship.
“It’s only been a day. It’s like getting involved in a relationship, it needs time,” said Kim Swee, who has guided the national youth team to one gold medal in four Sea Games outings.
“On the field, we will see how he combines with other players as we have another midfielder joining us after the Indonesia game. So, the combination between them on and off the field is important.”
Kim Swee, who led Malaysia to gold in 2011 and silver in 2017, admitted that he’s in a race against time to form a formidable squad after dropping five players on Sunday and welcoming at least seven more players after the Malaysia-Indonesia clash tonight.
“I will have 32 (players), but only 20 will be selected (for the 2019 Sea Games),” he said.