Midfielder Syamer Kutty Abba (pic) is loving every minute of Johor Darul Ta’zim’s pre-season matches in Dubai.
After playing against FC Riga (reigning Latvian League champions), MSK Zilina (seven-time Slovakian Fortuna League champions) and Turkmenistan (ranked 129th in the FIFA rankings), he believes his team are more than ready for the Malaysian Super League.
The 22-year-old Penangite said that as a player, he had learnt much from these teams to enhance his game for the new season.
“The preparations this time around is much better because the competition here are much better than those in Malaysia. The exposure is good, and I have learnt a lot from this stint, ” said the former Penang player.
‘We also played a national team, so it is very competitive. The pre-season is to get yourself in good shape before the season starts, but the fact is we are also learning new things.
“From tactics to technique, this stint will help us develop our game further.”
The Southern Tigers have so far played four matches in Dubai and won three.
The wins were against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) First Division League club Dibba Al-Fujairah Club (1-0), Turkmenistan (2-1) and MSK Zilina (2-1), while they lost to FC Riga 2-0 in the first match.
Syamer is now hoping 2020 will be a good one for him after 2019 proved to be treacherous with lots of challenges.
Although his club won the Super League and Malaysia Cup, the lanky midfielder, known for his pinpoint passes and crunching challenges, was mostly used as a substitute.
In the national team, he did play some matches of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup qualifiers but the most devastating moment of his career was to bow out of the SEA Games group stages in shambolic fashion.
“It was a challenging year, no doubts about that. The frustrations will be my lessons in life.
“Personally, I know I need to improve further to become a mainstay in the national team and JDT. I know there are critics, but I aim to prove them wrong.
“During training, I am learning from every player. In midfield, I’m always talking to players like Hariss (Harun) and Natxo (Insa). They are experienced and I hope to emulate them.”