Southeast Asia

SEA Player Focus – Most Improved in 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, it is time to look back on the players, coaches and teams who have improved the most during the last 12 months.


Name: Nguyen Quang Hai

Age: 21

Position: Midfielder

Current Club: Hanoi FC

Quang Hai was considered as the king of youth tournaments in Vietnam. He won the domestic U19 Championship when he was only 16 years old, and the U21 title when he was only 18 years old. As such, he earned his promotion to the first team when he was just 17.

Despite his high potential, nobody expected Quang Hai to shine the way he did in 2018. He scored 5 goals to help U23 Vietnam advance to the final of the AFC U23 Championships, he netted 9 times to help Hanoi win the league and even managed 2 goals and 3 assists to help Vietnam win the AFF Cup. He can play across the midfield and has superb vision. With his skilful left foot, he is also useful when playing on the wing or just behind a main striker.

Record: 17 goals from 60 appearances


Name: Supachai Jaided

Age: 20

Current Club: Buriram United

Past Club: Osotspa M-150/Super Power Samut Prakan

The boy from Pattani, a small province in the far south of Thailand, left to pursue his football dream in Bangkok at a young age. Supachai impressed at school level, and got snapped up by Osotspa M150 (later known as Super Power Samut Prakan) and made his debut at age 17. He helped the club to safety, as they finished just a single point above the drop, before Buriram United came calling. Now playing for the league champions, game time was hard to come by and Supachai spent a lot of the 2017 season in the reserves. This year, however, Supachai experienced a rapid rise.

The forward is tall and skinny, and judging by appearance you wouldn't think Supachai is a professional footballer. He's not the strongest, nor the fastest, nor a particularly good dribbler, and he isn't good at shooting from distance. However, Supachai greatest strength is his sense of space, off-the-ball movement and finishing instinct. His style of play could be compared to German World Cup winner, Thomas Muller.

Record: 7 goals and 4 assists from 49 appearances


Name: Safawi Rasid

Age: 21

Current Club: Johor Darul Ta'zim

Past Club: T-Team

Safawi Rasid who was only 15 years old when he joined the Dungun T-Team Football Club Academy, and consistently made the first-eleven for his team . Safawi representend Terengganu's football team every year since he was 14 years old for the MSSM tournament. When he was 16, he moved to Sekolah Sukan Bukit Nenas to improve his football skills. Due to his fantastic talent at the Sports School League, T-Team coach, Rahmad Darmawan called him up for training with the senior team.

A versatile forward, Safawi often plays as a winger, and is capable of playing on either flank, due to his ability with either foot. He is capable of cutting into the centre onto his stronger left foot from the right wing, and is also able to create chances and provide assists for his teammates due to his vision. He is also able to play in the centre as a main striker, due to his composure, clinical finishing, and eye for goal.

Record: 7 goals from 27 appearances