The ultimate goal
Article from the Sun daily by Yeo Chia Hui (posted on 19 April 2016)
FOR this footballer's first year on Malaysian soil, 2015 has been quite the whirlwind year. The Australian-Malaysian youth not only signed with Pahang Football Club, but also switched his allegiance from Socceroos (Australia's national football team, where Davies was in the youth division) to Harimau Malaysia.
Born to an Australian father and a Malaysian mother, Matthew Davies made the bold choice last year when he gave up his Australian citizenship in order to play for Malaysia's national football team. Although it was not an unprecedented move, it was still courageous of the 21-year-old to start anew in a foreign country.
Thanks to his far-sightedness, his gamble paid off as he did remarkably well playing the right-back position for his club. This in turn earned him several call-ups for the World Cup qualifiers to which he equally excelled in. And to cap off an amazing year, Davies won the Young Player of the Year title at the 2015 National Football Awards.
"I feel honoured to receive the award given the fact that it was voted by captains, coaches, and media across the league. It's always nice to be recognised for your effort and performance on the field," he said.
Intrigued by his move and captivated by the success that he has enjoyed so far, theSun spoke to Davies through email to know more about the Pahang defender.
How did you get involved in football?
My family has always been crazy about football so naturally I followed my brother's footsteps and got into sports at a young age.
What made you exchange your Australian citizenship for a Malaysian one?
The opportunity to play football at the national level was very tempting. Hence, when the chance arose for me to represent Malaysia, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Having spent almost a year here, how are you finding Malaysia?
The biggest challenge thus far has been adapting to a new culture and surroundings. Initially, it was tough being away from my family but I have to say that I am really enjoying my life here.
Can you offer us a glimpse into your life?
My day typically revolves around two things: coffee and training. I have one to two sessions of training per day while I also spend about an hour or two enjoying lattes. As I'm still pursuing my studies with an Australian university, via distance learning, a portion of my time is dedicated to watching lectures and doing assignments. What I can say, however, is that footballers have too much free time!
You're in your second season with Pahang Football Club. How would you rate your debut season?
I'd say my first season with Pahang is a success. I managed to nail down a regular spot in the starting 11 on both club and national levels, and that was one of my main goals coming into the season.
You've had experience playing in both the A-league (professional men's football league by Football Federation Australia) and Malaysia Super League. Is there any difference between the two?
Yes, of course.
Each league is distinctive in their own ways with different sets of challenges. I find Malaysian football open and exciting – it is never short of goals and counterattacks, so maybe this is why fans enjoy it very much.
As a footballer, what would you like to achieve?
My greatest wish is to have a successful football career at club and international levels. I'd also love to play in more leagues overseas, with Japan and America in particular because I think that will be amazing in terms of developing my career and cultural perspective.
What can football fans expect from you in 2016?
I am targeting a more consistent season with more goals and assists on a personal level
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