Many dream of making the big step up from domestic Malaysian football to playing abroad but very few dare to make the jump. It's a precarious leap that isn't easy to take for a variety of reasons and when the move to another country is made, it's sink or swim time.
It has been over 12 months since Hadi Fayyadh made the move from JDT to Japanese J2 League side Fagiano Okayama but it has certainly not been a rosy period for the lanky striker, who has yet to feature for the first team.
Starting out at the now defunct Frenz United which was a privately owned academy, Hadi caught the attention of Super League champions JDT who swooped in to get his signature back in 2016. Promising performances for the Johor Darul Ta'zim II side in the Premier League meant that Hadi was often found training with the Super League and soon got his big break.
Just a season later, he was already thrown into the fray at the Super League level. Still only 17 then, for him to be rewarded with minutes in the top tier of Malaysian football was a sign of the faith that JDT had in his capabilities. But as with any young player coming through, sustaining the faith proved to be a very difficult task.
In 2018, the relationship between Hadi and JDT ended as the former eyed a big move abroad. After two trials with Fagiano, he was offered a contract with the Japanese side, albeit with some help from Yakult Malaysia.
"I am very happy because I have managed to earn a place in the team, and this is a very good start for me in my quest to hone my skills and improve myself as a professional player. As we all already know, Japan has one of the best national sides in Asia and they also have a very well organised football development programme.
“Rest assured that I will repay the faith and belief that Fagiano Okayama have shown to me, and my aim is to fight for a place in the first team," said Hadi after signing for Fagiano.
皆さんこんにちは。 ファジアーノ岡山との契約更新を発表することができてとても嬉しく思います。 最初から最後まで私を支えてくださった皆様に心から感謝いたしております。 今後ともチームのためにベストを尽くしていきたいと思っておりますので、応援よろしくお願いいたします Hello everyone. I am very pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Fagiano Okayama. I would like to thank all of you who supported me from the beginning to the end. I will continue to do my best for the team, so please continue to support me! @fagianookayama #ファジアーノ岡 山 #fagianookayama #yakultmalaysia
A post shared by Hadi Fayyadh (@hadifayyadhh) on Dec 19, 2019 at 3:26am PST
However while the aim was correct, the outcome wasn't. Throughout the entire 2019 season, he did not see a single minute of action for the first team and the rustiness of his game could be seen when he returned to feature for the Malaysia Under-23 side in March that year who were attempting to qualify for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship.
Malaysia failed to repeat their efforts in 2018 and were exited the competition at the qualifying stage and Hadi's game was called into question. Here was a player that seemed to possess the perfect physical attribute to be a prolific striker but the performance had failed to match the expectations.
The same would happen later in 2019 when he was again given the taks of leading the line for Malaysia U23 in the Southeast Asian Games in Philippines. Another disappointing group stage exit and it would appear that Hadi's game got even worse despite supposedly been given better training and coaching in a Japanese system.
But despite all that, the now 20-year-old was given a new lease of life as Fagiano kept faith in him and Hadi accepted the one year extension on his contract. A decision that Hadi must not let go to waste like the 12 months before that had.
Time is still very much on his side to turn things around and perhaps after a year of adaptation, 2020 will be the season that Hadi's career will return to the right track for his own good and that of the national team.
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He might still be young, but Mukhairi Ajmal has plenty to say. We had a chat with the gifted Selangor youngster about his idols, ambitions for the future and playing with @luqmansham_10. Click link in bio for the full exclusive interview!
A post shared by Goal Malaysia (@goal_malaysia) on Apr 27, 2020 at 5:00pm PDT