18-Year-Old Kelantanese is NxGn 2020’s 50 Best Wonderkids in Football
This year sees Real Madrid’s Rodrygo picking up the NxGn award for the best teenage player announced by Goal. The award winners make up the Who’s Who in the world of football and one all football fans are familiar despite their relatively young age.
The award, which was introduced in 2003, has seen players like Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Mario Gotze and Joao Felix winning the prestigious accolade. The first winner was Netherlands’s Rafael van der Vaart, while last year’s winner was Felix, who now plies his trade for La Liga club Atletico Madrid.
Who will win the 2020 Golden Boy Award ⁉️ pic.twitter.com/0XdyKmN06h
— 433 (@433) July 17, 2020
This year, a young Malaysian appeared on that list for the very first time since its inception back in 2017, and only one of three Asian players to make the grade! Luqman Hakim recently made it into the preliminary list in the world-renowned ‘Golden Boy’ award.
Sooooo, who is Luqman Hakim?
According to The Star, the Kota Bharu native made a name for himself in the local football circuit when he became the top scorer at the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championships by scoring five goals in only two matches. It was the Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) where Luqman first made an impression, under the tutelage of Lim Teong Kim.
The 18-year-old boy also took Malaysia to greater heights in the 2019 AFF Under-18 Championship. His amazing performance for the Malaysian team saw him signing for Belgian Jupiter League club KV Kortrijk, owned by Malaysian businessman, Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Goal, Luqman was ecstatic to be grouped together with the likes of Rodrygo, Ansu Fati and Gabriel Martinelli – calling the nomination a big confidence booster for him in his fledgling career. “I’m very grateful for this award. This is a surprise and I never thought I would be named among the best 50 teenage players in the world. This is certainly a big motivation for me to keep moving forward in my career,” said Luqman.
No doubt, Luqman has a lot to live up to compared to the past and current Malaysian greats like Mokhtar Dahari, Azman Adnan and Safee Sali.
Although at the beginning of a promising career in football, the 18-year-old appears to be on the right track for a bright future and hopefully, stand side-by-side with famous names someday.
Regardless, we admire his resilience and dedication to the sport.
Well done, Luqman!