Coach Hafiz Ahmed bids farewell to Manor Park to start next journey with Perlis under-19s
PUBLISHED: 13:30 11 January 2018
The former London APSA, Manor Youth and Westferry Youth boss started work in Malaysia this week and he’s excited about the opportunity
Hafiz Ahmed started managing the Perlis under-19s in Malaysia this week, but was quick to pay tribute to two of his old clubs after securing a potentially huge opportunity in south-east Asia.
The local coach turned down an offer from a German side and two other Malaysian clubs to work with the Northern Lions, who are based in the state of Perlis.
Ahmed, a former Newham College pupil, spent time in Bangladesh last summer coaching the Sylhet under-18 district team, the under-16 national team and two of the under-23 national sides before returning to England.
And after recently working with Manor Youth and London APSA, the 21-year-old has now signed a one-season contract at the Perlis under-19s with their new campaign starting in March.
“I could give you a whole list of people to thank for helping me get this far in my career, but two clubs were so important,” said Ahmed.
“My time with London APSA allowed me to network with many people across the UK and that’s where I met my agent Rashid Uddin of KRD Management as well as others in the game who have helped me.
“And at Manor Youth I was able to put my focus and concentration into building something big as well as building a philosophy and system which I first of all took to Bangladesh and now to Malaysia.
“So London APSA and Manor Youth will always be in my heart for playing a huge part in my first chapter, but now I looking to move forward even more and progress in my next chapter with the Perlis under-19s.”
Ahmed had lived in Manor Park for all of his life, but will now call Malaysia home for the majority of 2018.
It is an exciting opportunity for the former Westferry Youth boss and one he feels will see him make great strides as a coach.
He added: “Part of being a great manager is your ability to adapt to the different situations and environments thrown at you.
“The Malaysian culture, food and people in general are all great and football in the country is growing and evolving every season. I was at the Malaysian Cup final in November and there was well over 80,000 spectators.
“It was an electric atmosphere so you can see how big the game is becoming over there and I’m blessed to now come in and play a part in this and continue my development as a manager at the same time.”
The up-and-coming coach could have accepted an offer from Germany and been closer to England, but he is now over 12 hours away from his home.
Nevertheless, Ahmed admitted there was so much which attracted him to Malaysia, he added: “Firstly the weather because who doesn’t want to be out in the 30 degree heat everyday!
“Along with that, I found Perlis a place which kind of suits my philosophy because it’s a very jungle environment, full of nature and peace.
“I have been around the whole of Malaysia, but there was a sense of calm and peace in Perlis which I loved, I guess that’s what you need when you coach - to be away from distractions.
“Everything about Perlis interested me and I spoke to the board with an open mind and I spent hours with experienced Malaysian coaches and spoke to them.
“They all said to me Perlis is the perfect platform for me to excel up the ranks as they have a history of producing solid players and coaches.
“I was also fortunate enough to enjoy the company of the King of Perlis Sirajuddin, who was very welcoming and kind and offered me his hand if there were any issues.”
After mixing with royalty in Malaysia, Ahmed will now look to unearth some jewels of his own from the Perlis under-19 football team.