KUCHING: Sarawak’s rising star in football Ashri Chuchu has indicated that he wants to emulate his idol, the late football icon Mokhtar Dahari, to be the one of the best attacking midfielders in Malaysia.
“The legendary Mokhtar Dahari has been my hero since I started playing football. He is the source of my inspiration and I aspire to be highly regarded just like him. The national call-up gave me the motivation to step up my game for Sarawak and hopefully for the nation. This is the best opportunity to learn and play with the best in Malaysia and a platform for me to achieve my dream,” informed Ashri to The Borneo Post.
“Mokhtar is simply superb and irreplaceable. Every Malaysian player admire him and every Malaysian adore him,” he added.
Ashri has earned his first national call up from Olympic coach Ong Kim Swee and he flew to Kuala Lumpur yesterday to meet up with the rest of the national squad and attend centralised training. He has been regarded as the best crosser in the Malaysian Super League and his darting runs along the flanks has opponents at wits as to how to neutralise the menace.
“I must thank Datu Sudarsono Osman, the president of FAS for his guidance and helping me to develop as a football player. With the opportunity given to me to play with the national team, I will do my best to make Sarawak proud and to get a place in Malaysia’s first eleven. I aim to do well playing for Malaysia,” said the 21-year old player.
Sarawak head coach Robert Alberts said that every player who works hard deserves a reward.
“Ashri is a player who really gives it all for the team. If the national team coach comes knocking at your door, it means that you are doing the right thing. Now I want Ashri to do his stuff and show Ong that he was right to have given him the call-up,” he added.
The Dutchman however said that it is important that Ashri does not get carried away by the call up. Ashri still have a lot more to learn as he is still of young age.
“In Malaysia I have seen so many promising players rise up the ranks, but many of these players also declined rapidly. I do not want that to happen to our Ashri here so he has to be aware of the circumstances that awaits him,” advised Alberts.
He pointed out that it is important that football talents get noticed at a young age.
Ashri rose through the ranks from being just a young school-boy at SMK Tabuan Jaya sports school to the Sarawak first eleven in a relatively short time. Ashri, who is originally from Lawas, have so far scored one goal for Sarawak which is the winner against Felda United last Feb 11. He has also contributed a number of important goal scoring assists for the team.