DAVIES ON A MIS­SION

Eyes be­com­ing one of the youngest to lift FA Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport - MATTHEW DAVIES

RE­PORTS BY DEVIN­DER SINGH devin­der@nst.com.my

MATTHEW Davies is rel­ish­ing a chance to be­come one of the youngest cap­tains to lift the FA Cup tro­phy should Pa­hang over­come Kedah in the fi­nal at the Shah Alam Sta­dium to­day.

The 22-year-old right-back sees no rea­son why his youth should pre­clude him from be­ing a team leader and is al­ready the youngest player to skip­per a Su­per League team last year when handed the arm-band by then­coach Razip Is­mail.

"It would be an amaz­ing feel­ing to lift the tro­phy but I don't want to bring in­di­vid­ual spot­light on my­self," said Aus­tralia-born Davies, one of two nat­u­ralised play­ers in the Pa­hang squad, the other be­ing mid­fielder Kiko Insa. "It's a team game and any achieve­ment is by the whole team in gen­eral.

"If you look at se­nior­ity at the team, I've been here for three years and played con­sis­tently. I've played over 80 games for the club so in terms of ex­pe­ri­ence in play­ing for Pa­hang I don't see why not (be a cap­tain)."

Pa­hang have been in­fu­ri­at­ingly in­con­sis­tent this sea­son as their 4-1 de­feat to Kedah in a Su­per League match on Feb 11 would at­test, as well as a run of just two wins in their last six matches in all com­pe­ti­tions.

"It's been a tale of two sea­sons, in com­plete con­trast to last year," said Davies, re­fer­ring to a nar­row es­cape from rel­e­ga­tion in 2016. "It's a bit of a shock to be here com­pared to where we were last year but at the same time a com­pletely new team.

"We've re­cruited re­ally well and coach Dol­lah Salleh has done fan­tas­tic. I'm not sur­prised that at this stage of the sea­son with the qual­ity we have in the squad, there's no rea­son why we can't go on and get the win to­mor­row."

Dol­lah will have new sign­ing Yamil Romero on hand but was coy when asked if the Ar­gen­tine mid­fielder will start to­day.

"He's been with us for two weeks and he has the skill to play high-level foot­ball," said Dol­lah, seek­ing to add to his soli­tary FA Cup tri­umph in 2005 with Se­lan­gor.

"His match fit­ness is a con­cern but I hope he will be able to do some­thing."

Should Romero play, Nor Azam Azih is ex­pected to make way while winger Christie Jayasee­lan

It's a team game and any achieve­ment is by the whole team in gen­eral.

is also in the frame to start in place of Wan Za­harul­nizam Wan Zakaria.

Dol­lah also has to de­cide whether to re­tain Mus­lim Ah­mad in cen­tral de­fence or re­store Afif Amirud­din, who was dropped from the 2-1 semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg win over Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan after an er­ror-filled dis­play in a 3-2 de­feat to Ke­lan­tan on May 6.

"The fi­nal is a dif­fer­ent ball game and to­mor­row some­thing dif­fer­ent will hap­pen," said Dol­lah in brush­ing aside his team's per­for­mance against Kedah ear­lier this sea­son.

"This is a new team which I have been a part of for just five months. We strug­gled ear­lier in the sea­son with get­ting the play­ers to work as a team but we are im­prov­ing with each match and so far so good."

PIC BY FARIZUL HAFIZ AWANG

Pa­hang fans are all smiles after buy­ing their tick­ets for to­day’s FA Cup fi­nal.

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