Trophies are not won by squads with mere attacking depth. Defensive prowess is equally important; precisely why teams like Selangor invest in Robert Cornthwaite. He comes in with an impressive CV, having played for K-League side Jeonnam Dragons over the past few years and Adelaide United before that. Robert was also part of the Australian national team on several occassions and in joining Selangor, he will also be linking up with fellow Australian, Mehmet Durakovic, who is Selangor FA’s boss. FourthOfficial.com caught up with him for a quick chat on life in Malaysia and his new beginning with the Red Giants.
FO: How are you enjoying Malaysia so far? The team, the country etc?
RC: Everything has been great so far. Having come from 4 years in Korea, I have experienced another side to living in Asia. So coming to Malaysia is new and exciting. All the people I have met have been extremely welcoming. The players have made me feel a part of the team since day I arrived, which has helped me settle here so quickly
FO: Why did you decide to leave the Dragons. Were you looking for a fresh challenge or something along that line?
RC: My contract was up at the end of the season and I was ready for a new challenge. I had 4 amazing years with Jeonnam and it was one of the best times in my career. Having already played in the A league previously, it wasn’t something I was really looking to do again at this stage in my career. Football in SE Asia is continuously growing with leagues in Thailand and Malaysia representing a strong challenge for players to come and test themselves. I saw Malaysia as a great opportunity to continue my football journey in Asia.
FO: You’ve arrived with a wealth of experience, having played for the likes of Adelaide United as well as Jeonnam Dragons. Fans are certainly excited. Are you excited for Malaysia Super League?
RC: Yes definitely. Speaking to some players and the coaching staff, I’ve quickly acquired an understanding of the league and what I should expect. I know it’s going to be challenging and I’m looking forward to fight for silverware with what I think is a very strong Selangor team. I can’t wait to play at the Shah Alam Stadium in front of a huge Selangor FA home crowd. It’s going to be amazing
FO: Any specific reasons as to why you picked Selangor over any other offers you probably had?
RC: The main reason for joining Selangor was that I felt it’s a club with a very strong history and that we would be competing for the title. Every player wants to win and I know this team has the players to be very competitive. The other reason was Memhet Durakovic. Obviously when you live overseas, it’s always nice to have an Australian-minded coach who shows a real interest to bring you to the club. Since joining Selangor, I’ve seen first hand how he manages his players and how all the players respect him. It’s a close group.
FO: Selangor lost a terrific goalscorer in the form of Paulo Rangel, who left to join Terengganu. But Guilherme has been signed to replace him. Based on what you’ve seen in training so far, are you confident of Guilherme doing well in spearheading Selangor’s attack this year?
RC: Having not seen Paulo play, it’s hard for me to compare the two, but there is no doubt Guilherme will cause problems for a lot of defenders this season. He is tall and very strong, has a good finish as well. I have high hopes for him this season.
FO: Which particular Selangor player has impressed you the most thus far?
RC: There are a lot of young talented players currently at Selangor who I think could really step up this season and maybe cause a few surprises for opposition teams. One experienced player who has impressed me is Azmi Muslim; he is very good on the ball and will be very important for us this season.
FO: Quite a number of Selangor fans are frustrated with various aspects of the team and management; leading to banners being hung around the city over the weekend, demanding for a revamp of the management. Understandably, you’re new to the team. But is there anything you’d like to pass on to these fans?
RC: I’m here to play football and that’s all i am concerned with. Being Australian, it’s almost natural to always give 100% every training and match. I can promise the fans that no matter what the situation is, I will always play with pride and represent myself and Selangor FA in a professional manner.