Winger Fazli is back in business
Struggling to make an impact with LionsXII, Fazli Ayob aims to find his feet with the Courts Young Lions. -TNP
SINGAPORE - Barely three weeks ago, he was still part of the LionsXII set-up, which has been soaring high in the Malaysian Super League.
But winger Fazli Ayob was nowhere near happy, as he struggled to find first-team opportunities in V Sundramoorthy's side.
Due to National Service (NS) commitments, the 22-year-old was unable to turn up for training sessions and matches on a regular basis, and found himself glued to the bench for most matches.
In his four- month stint with the LionsXII, he played only once, coming on as a second-half substitute against Kuala Lumpur back in January.
In a bid to resurrect his career, Fazli - who is currently serving his NS in the Singapore Civil Defence Force as a firefighter - made the bold move to return to the S-League, where he could feature more frequently.
On April 16, he officially made his return to his previous team, the Courts Young Lions.
Said Fazli: "It was really difficult to get first-team chances with the LionsXII.
Away matches were a problem as I had to take leave from NS to travel.
"As I couldn't attend training sessions regularly, I was stuck on the bench for many weeks.
"It affected the progress of my career as I needed more playing time. I realised that it was better for me to move to a club where I could play more often."
He first made his intentions known to Sundramoorthy in late February.
He said: "I told my coach that I wanted to return to the S-League, but he told me to reconsider my decision.
"As things did not improve, I spoke to my team manager, Eugene Loo, in the middle of March about my worries.
"This time, I had the approval of the club, and they made the necessary arrangements for my transfer back to the Young Lions."
Despite his limited playing time with in the M-League, Fazli still found the experience worthwhile.
He said: "I'm disappointed that I had to leave, but it was good to play alongside more experienced and stronger players. Training with them improved my game.
Last week, he showed glimpses of brilliance in his first match back for the Young Lions against Gombak United.
His side won 1-0, with Fazli setting up the winning goal for Sherif El-Masri in the 13th minute.
"It was a good start, but I still need time to gel with my new teammates, said Fazli.
"I'll be completing my NS in three months, hopefully I'll be able to concentrate on football in the second half of the season.
"I know that the Young Lions didn't have the best of starts, but I'm not bothered about what others are saying. I want to play well for my team."
His coach, Robin Chitrakar, is glad to have Fazli back in the side.
He said: "Fazli is adjusting well. He's played with some of the boys before and should have no problems doing well here."
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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