Dollah wants FA Cup glory
DOLLAH Salleh views the FA Cup as Pahang’s best route back to the AFC Cup as they prepare to face Negri Sembilan in the semi-finals return leg at Paroi tomorrow.
Pahang last featured in Asia’s second-tier competition in 2015 when they reached the quarterfinals, having waited eight years since their previous appearance in 2007.
Dollah has no intention on waiting that long again and is taking the FA Cup with such seriousness that he will line up his best side to face Negri despite also being in contention for the Super League title.
“To qualify for the AFC Cup is one of our goals but to do so, we have to beat Negri first and then win the final,” Pahang coach Dollah told Astro Arena’s Formasi programme.
“Over the last two or three days, I have seen the players train with even more determination to not just make the starting XI but also to get into the match-day squad.”
Pahang begin the second leg against Premier League leaders Negri with a 1-0 advantage thanks to an own goal by Annas Rahmat having dominated the first leg in Kuantan on April 30.
Dollah will also have Gambian forward Mohamadou Sumareh available after missing the first leg through suspension as they also look to put behind them a 3-2 defeat to Kelantan in a Super League match last Saturday.
“The defeat to Kelantan hurt a lot but the players are ready to go all out against Negri,” vowed Dollah.
“We are going to Paroi not to defend our 1-0 lead.
“We will play our normal attacking game because we know that Negri also have to attack since they need to score.
“We have our own tactical and formation plans to contain Negri and whatever they do.”
Pahang won the FA Cup for a second time in 2014, a year after Dollah left the team to coach Police.
But neither Pahang nor Negri have been in the best of form lately with the first leg in Kuantan being Pahang’s only win in their last five matches while Negri are winless in the same span, including four successive draws in the Premier League.
The winner of this semi-final will face either Kedah or Terengganu, who meet in the second leg in Kuala Terengganu with the former leading 1-0, in the May 20 final in Shah Alam.
Pahang’s Gambian forward Mohamadou Sumareh (back) will be available for their FA Cup semi-final match against Negri Sembilan tomorrow.