Two years ago he suffered the heartbreak of being left out of the Johor Darul Ta'zim squad to face Kedah in the 2017 Malaysia Cup final. Then he was still new to the team and his performances were inconsistent. Fast forward 24 months later and Safawi has transformed himself to be an integral part of the all-conquering JDT team as he finally earned his cup final appearance.
A free kick delivered to precision in the first half helped doubled JDT's lead in the match and further dampen the confidence of Kedah. His performance on the night earned him the official man-of-the-match award from the organisers and Safawi firmly believes that he is back to the shape and form that he wants to be at.
"First of all I want to thank Tunku Mahkota Johor and all that are involved with JDT. This man-of-the-match is not about me but about the team. So I have to thank my team mates for helping me. I didn't play in the 2017 final and it made me worked harder from 2018 onwards and this year's final, my dream is achieved. I'm grateful for the award, it takes a lot of hard work to be part of this JDT team.
"Playing game after game is usual for a professional player. Yes, I was a little tired in the first leg of the semi-final. But using the facilities we have at JDT, I was able to get fresh again by the time the second leg came around," said Safawi in the post-match press conference.
That goal in the final took his tally in the Malaysia Cup to 11 goals and is the undisputed top scorer in the competition this year. More importantly, that goal also puts him level with Diogo Luis Santo as the top goalscorers in JDT's 2019 season with 20 goals in all competition, a real marker set by the young forward to be on par with the experience Brazilian.
These two years has seen Safawi grown in leaps and bounds. From one of the squad member to now one of the first names on the team sheet when fit, Safawi's improvement is there for all to see. Still only 22, the sky is the limit for this Dungun-born player.
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