Coaches re­new their ri­valry

New Straits Times - - Sport -

KEDAH care­taker coach Nidzam Adzha Yu­sof and his Pa­hang coun­ter­part, Dol­lah Salleh were fierce ri­vals dur­ing their play­ing days.

On Satur­day, the two men will re­new their ri­valry as coaches of their re­spec­tive teams in the FA Cup fi­nal at Shah Alam Sta­dium.

While Dol­lah has at­tained suc­cesses as a coach, Nidzam has yet to achieve any­thing ma­jor.

The 49-year-old Nidzam now hopes to fi­nally taste glory and also join an ‘elite’ club of in­di­vid­u­als who have won the FA Cup both as play­ers and coaches.

Nidzam won the FA Cup as a player with Perak (1990) and Kedah (1996) while Dol­lah only man­aged it as a coach in 2005 with Se­lan­gor.

“We were once fierce ri­vals and on Satur­day, we will re­new our bat­tle but as coaches. I re­spect Dol­lah as he has man­aged to make a smooth trans­la­tion from a great player to a suc­cess­ful coach.

“It is unique as many great play­ers have failed to be­come good coaches,” Nidzam told Time­s­port yes­ter­day.

“It is my first ma­jor fi­nal but for Dol­lah, it is just another match as he has won count­less ti­tles as a coach. He knows what it takes to guide a team to be­come cham­pi­ons.

“Dol­lah has his unique ways to mo­ti­vate play­ers. Pa­hang are a near-com­plete side. They are sec­ond in the Su­per League and also knocked out Darul Ta’zim from the FA Cup... I rate them as favourites on Satur­day.”

It is Nidzam’s third stint as Kedah’s care­taker coach. The for­mer striker stood in for the sus­pended Wan Ja­mak Wan Has­san in 2012 but re­signed af­ter just five matches.

He was also handed a sim­i­lar role at the tail-end of the 2015 sea­son when for­mer trainer Tan Cheng Hoe was in China for a coach­ing course.

“The spe­cial thing about Pa­hang is that they do not de­pend on one or two play­ers for goals. A to­tal of 13 play­ers have net­ted for Pa­hang so far and this is not a good sign for us as their goals can come in from any­one.

“My play­ers will only re­port back for train­ing to­mor­row af­ter two hec­tic away games. I will be work­ing on so­lu­tions to tighten our de­fence.

“I be­lieve Pa­hang will pres­sure us for early goals and we need to find a way to con­tain them,” said Nidzam, whose team have recorded one win and two draws since he took over from Cheng Hoe on April 29.

Nidzam’s squad have no in­juries or sus­pen­sions ex­cept for for­ward Farhan Roslan who is down with a sus­pected knee in­jury.

Dol­lah Salleh

Nidzam Adzha Yu­sof

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