After 12 matches played in the Super League, PKNS FC are struggling down in ninth spot - just one point ahead of the drop zone. However inspite of their inconsistencies, there has been a few shining sparks in their season thus far and one of them is Nazrin Syamsul Bahri.
At 26 years of age, Nazrin isn't a new star waiting to burst into the scene. Some players just take longer to find their feet and Nazrin's performances this season, vindicates E. Elavarasan's belief in the left-footed midfielder.
Elavarasan's decision to move Nazrin from a wider berth into central midfielder proved to be a masterstroke. The diminutive player showed that he can strive in a deeper playmaking role, utilising his good range of passing.
On Wednesday, PKNS will go up against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) for Nazrin - it's a chance to pit his strengths against more established midfielders like Safiq Rahim and Amirulhadi Zainal. Speaking to Goal, Nazrin also acknowledge that it's a up-close learning opportunity despite raring to play against them.
"Of course, every time we play against JDT, we are excited. It's an important match for us. We know that Safiq and Amirul are very good players in the M-League. I know there's still plenty for me to learn from them," said Nazrin.
With the Malaysia national team scheduled to play Lebanon in Johor Bahru for their first match in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier, Nazrin harbours hope to be noticed by new head coach, Nelo Vingada. Yet he knows that to catch the attention of Vingada, Nazrin will have to continue to improve so that he can achieve his own personal target.
"For me, it [performances to get a call-up] hasn't been enough. I will continue to work harder to ensure that the new coach sees my qualities. My target is to play for the national team," added Nazrin.
No better chance for Nazrin to show it than against an illustrious side like JDT where there are undoubtedly observant eyes on the match, compared to others.