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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Bernama) -- Selangor FC defender Sharul Nazeem Zulpakar has a dream - to mark his Malaysia Cup final debut by helping his team beat Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and lift the coveted trophy aloft at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday (Nov 26).
The 23-year-old, who is better known as Afro, said winning the Malaysia Cup would be the most meaningful achievement in his short career since being promoted from Selangor FC 2 to the senior team early last season.
“This is my first final... it’s never easy to reach the final. So, it’s time for me to focus on helping the team win the title. I hope my teammates will rise to the occasion too,” he said after Selangor’s official training session at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium in Cheras here tonight.
Aware that the match against JDT won’t be a walk in the park, Sharul Nazeem said they will be prepared for any eventualities, including the match going into extra time or a penalty shootout.
Sharul Nazeem, however, would prefer Selangor, who are under the tutelage of former national squad head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, to win in regulation time.
“Most of the JDT players are good, so we need to be wary of their attack and stay focused throughout the 90 minutes,” said Sharul Nazeem, who was recently called up for the national squad’s centralised training camp for next month’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup.
He also warned his teammates to be wary of JDT sensation Bergson Da Silva, who has scored six goals in the Malaysia Cup this season, adding that the striker is just one of three key players from the Southern Tigers that they must shackle.
The other two are Da Silva’s strike partner Fernando Forestieri and nippy winger Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi.
Earlier, JDT held their training session at the National Stadium in the afternoon due to concerns that it might rain in the evening.
Selangor, who have won the Malaysia Cup a record 33 times, last lifted the Cup in 2015 while JDT have emerged champions twice - in 2017 and 2019 - since the club’s formation in 2013.
Based on the two teams’ last five meetings in all competitions, JDT hold the advantage with three wins and two draws.
The two teams drew 1-1 when they last met - in a Super League clash at the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium - in September.
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