Johor Darul Ta’zim hotshot Safawi Rashid won almost everything in sight last season – but he has to shoulder bigger expectations for the 2020 season.
The winger had a sensational season helping JDT retain their Super League title for the sixth time in a row and completed the M-League double by winning the Malaysia Cup.
The Dungun local was named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Striker (local) and Most Popular Player at the 2019 National Football Awards last November.
Safawi also made waves at continental level as his goal in the 1-2 loss to Shandong Luneng of China in their AFC Champions League group match received 1,547,580 votes to finish as the second-best goal of the 2019 league season.
“I had a very good season with JDT and there’s more to come for me. I always aim to get better every year, every season, ” said the 22-year-old.
“For me, a footballer needs to constantly evolve and improve. You will see that other teams or players are trying to catch up so you need to keep ahead of the game.”
“It’s not easy but being with a club like JDT helps as you get all the support you need from top to bottom.”
The Southern Tigers will be heading to Qatar on Jan 15 for a training tour after their pre-season camp started on Dec 5.
JDT will kick off their 2020 season, by facing Japan’s Emperor’s Cup winners in the AFC Champions League Group G match on Feb 12. The Emperor’s Cup final will be held on Jan 1.
JDT will then start their Super League season against FA Cup winners Kedah in the Charity Shield match on Feb 28.
“We have another tough season ahead of us, the other teams in the M-League have beefed up and so it will be harder to defend our titles, ” said Safawi.
“We will be playing in the AFC Champions League for the second season and we aim to get past the group stage this time. It’s another challenge we are looking forward to.”