Ramsay, Davies don't regret turning their back on Australia

When Matthew Davies made his debut for Perth Glory he was given the job of marking Iain Ramsay, who had just switched to Melbourne City from Adelaide United. Both still harboured ambitions of wearing the green and gold.

Iain Ramsay

Iain Ramsay during his stint with Melbourne City in 2014 Source: Getty Images

Three years on the two could meet again, but in vastly different circumstances and wearing the kits of two different national teams.

The eleventh edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup, Southeast Asia’s biennial showpiece event, and arguably the second biggest tournament in Asia behind the Asian Cup, kicks off this weekend in the Philippines and Myanmar and both Davies and Ramsay have been selected to represent their new countries – Malaysia and the Philippines.

“I’m excited by the prospect of playing in my first Suzuki Cup,” Davies told The World Game from Myanmar, where his side Malaysia will play in Group B against Vietnam, Cambodia and the host nation, Myanmar.

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“I’ve learnt recently that it’s quite a prestigious tournament around the region and it’s held in quite high regard around Southeast Asia."



For Ramsay, who is currently without a club, the experience of his first AFF Suzuki Cup will be even more special as it’s also the first time the Philippines have co-hosted the tournament and they come in as one of the favourites.

“Everyone’s looking forward to it, there’s a buzz around Manila and I can’t wait for the first game on Saturday [against Singapore],” the 28-year-old said from Manila, where they will play in Group A against Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.

While both players grew up dreaming of playing for the Socceroos, they both insist there are no regrets with their decision to play for another national team.

Davies, who represented Australia at under-19 level, admits the decision to give up his Socceroos dream wasn't easy.

“Yeah a hundred percent [it was a hard decision],” 21-year-old, who now plays for Malaysia Super League club Pahang, said.

“But I can look back at it now and be really happy with the decision I made and really happy with how things have played out.

“I’ve been capped ten times now by Malaysia, and I’m captaining my club in Malaysia here now, so no regrets.”

Ramsay also explained the pride his mother and her family felt when he opted to play for the Azkals.

“She was buzzing,” he said. “I’ve got a large Filipino family and I know how much it means to not just her but my entire Filipino side of the family.”



With defending champions Thailand coming off a confidence boosting 2-2 draw with Australia on Tuesday, the War Elephants are the clear favourites heading into the tournament and Davies didn’t mind adding just a little extra pressure.

“It’s definitely their tournament to lose,” the defender declared.

“They’re the benchmark within the region and I think they’d be disappointed if they went on to lose it.

“But at the same time there’s a few other quality teams that have the quality to upset them on any given day.”


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3 min read
Published 18 November 2016 at 9:59am
By Paul Williams