American-born footballer Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal officially linked up with the Malaysia national under-22 squad on Monday.
The 21-year-old, born in Carbondale, Illinois, was previously reported to be facing passport and documentation issues.
However, the Sporting Kansas City midfielder arrived yesterday to join the team's preparation for the 2019 SEA Games.
"This means a lot... every time you represent the national team, you're not just representing yourself or your family, you're representing the whole country. Hopefully I can show and wear these colours proudly.
"[I am] looking forward for training and see where it goes. I am just going to be my best, work hard, compete, do what I can do and see what happens," he told reporters during a training session at the MPSJ Arena, Subang Jaya.
Wan Kuzain is aiming to help Ong Kim Swee's charges to win the elusive SEA Games gold, after Malaysia lost to Thailand in the 2017 final.
"I think every team wants to win, I do not see any reason why we can't [win].
"Everyone [in the team] is nice and friendly [and I have] introduced myself to all. So far all have been good.
"I would like to express myself as a player who is calm, composed in the midfield. I can play in any position, either in defence, centre or as attacking midfielder, [am] able to dictate the game and make the game.
"I can play the final ball, create own chances and most importantly, [I am] a guy who is a going to be good team-mate and work hard," added Wan Kuzain.
Meanwhile, Ong believes Wan Kuzain's experience would benefit the national team in long term.
"We need to give him time because he has just arrived. Firstly, we want to see how he can gel with other players on the field and we know that a few midfielders from the national senior team will be joining us after the match against Indonesia [on Tuesday].
"When these players come in, the combination between them is very important.
"At the same time, outside the pitch or off the field, he has to blend with our local players and it is very important for our team building on the field," he said.
Ong, who now has 25 players in the squad and will have another seven joining the team from the senior squad on Wednesday, is expected to name his final 20-man squad by the weekend before leaving for Manila.
"Everybody is going to work hard, especially when you know only 20 players will be selected for Manila.
"I can't have everyone and I don't want to have a very big group of players, where it definitely will be giving me little bit of problem in training.
"In the last week of preparations, I need to look at certain positions [and] make sure that we have very stable squad," he said.
Drawn in Group A, Malaysia kick off the campaign against Myanmar on November 25, followed by the Philippines (November 29), Timor-Leste (December 2) and Cambodia (December 4).
Tue Nov 19 2019
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