Johor Darul Ta’zim’s Safawi Rasid (2nd from left) is ready to challenge for a spot in the squad, despite the presence of foreign players. Pic by MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

KUALA LUMPUR: Young forward Safawi Rasid is ready to keep on competing with foreign imports for a place in the first eleven, despite the signings of 26-year-old Martinique international forward Harry Novillo and 31-year-old Brazilian centre-forward Jorge Santos Silva, who will feature for Super League leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), which will only make it harder for local players to get the nod to feature.

The 22-year-old forward who can play as a striker or winger, admits that competition for places in the starting line-up is very tight, though he does not see this as an excuse for local players in conceding or giving up.

"Yes competition for first team places has always been very tight, and now even more so as we have new foreign imports. Novillo and Silva are very good players which is good for JDT as it can bolster the team and help to improve our performance.

"So other players in the team will have to step up efforts and work hard to earn a place in the starting line-up. I believe that chances are always there for the taking for just about any player who shows sheer determination in training and during matches,” said Safawi.

Apart from Novillo and Brazilian Silva, Safawi is also competing for a first team place with local teammates such as Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Darren Lok and Syafiq Ahmad.

Safawi is one of three top local goalscorers in the Super League with three goals in 10 matches. The other two are PKNS FC’s veteran forward Safee Sali and Perak SEDC’s Hafiz Ramdan.

Safawi, who hails from Dungun, Terengganu, is hoping to perform consistently well not just in helping the team but in emerging as the league’s top scorer which is currently being led by Selangor’s 33-year-old Spanish forward Rufino Segovia with eight goals.

"A forward will always want to score when playing, and I have a further point to prove, that local forwards can do the job of scoring goals. But what is more important is for the team to win,” stressed Safawi.

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