BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor have what it takes to keep rising Malaysia star Luqman Hakim Shamsudin focused on his progress, insisted association secretary-general Johan Kamal Hamidon.
One week earlier, it had been reported that the former Malaysia U-16 forward, who had been training with the Red Giants while waiting to join Belgian top side KV Kortrijk, will play for Selangor's reserve team in the Premier League instead, due to travel restrictions imposed due to the global Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
While Johan declined to provide the details of the youngster's stint at Selangor, Goal had last year been made to understand that Luqman's contract with Kortrijk, which is owned by Malaysian millionaire Vincent Tan, contains a clause that requires him to return to Selangor should his time at the Belgian club ends early. Meanwhile, another clause requires the club to send the Kota Bharu, Kelantan-born teenager to Selangor if they want to loan him out to a Malaysian club.
"He has signed a contract with us and is officially a Selangor player. He can play for us in the league as he is our player.
"For now he'll only be playing for Selangor II. But if the coaches think he's ready for the first team (in the Super League), why not? Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later," confirmed Johan in a telephone conversation with Goal.
When asked, Johan explained that the club is aware that the teenager has been seemingly distracted from his footballing duties, and is fully committed to ensuring that he remains focused on continuing the progress of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship joint top-scorer.
In December last year, a photo of the 18-year old vacationing on a Phuket beach in Thailand with two young women as well as Malaysia and JDT young star Akhyar Rashid surfaced on social media, drawing the fans' concern that he is no longer working hard to fulfil his potential.
"We're fully aware of what has happened and we've spoken to him about it. He's not proud and he understands that these are the things that can affect his future as a professional.
"The only way for us to learn is by making mistakes, right? So he has to learn from these things as he matures, and we have individuals at the club who are looking closely into the development of exceptional talents, including coach Michael (Selangor II head coach and Selangor technical director Michael Feichtenbeiner). It's not only for the sake of Luqman, but also for the country," noted Johan.
The Selangor II roster is filled with Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) graduates, Luqman's former academy mates, who have been training and playing together for a few years for Malaysia junior teams and National Football Development Programme teams. Unlike the other three reserve teams in the league, Selangor II fields only one foreign player to assist the youngsters.
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