EYE­ING A RE­TURN TO GLORY YEARS

Kedah FA Cup hero Bad­drol gun­ning for tre­ble

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

FOR Bad­drol Bakhtiar, Kedah’s two-goal hero in the 3-2 FA Cup fi­nal win over Pa­hang on Satur­day, re­turn­ing to the glory years of the 2007 and 2008 tre­ble-win­ning sea­sons is a ma­jor driv­ing force.

Kedah need only to win the Su­per League ti­tle this year to add to the FA Cup and Malaysia Cup tro­phies al­ready in their pos­ses­sion.

Though it won’t be a cal­en­dar year tre­ble, it would be the first time one team held all three ma­jor ti­tles at the same time since Kedah last did it in 2008, but it would mean deny­ing Darul Ta’zim a fourth suc­ces­sive Su­per League crown.

While coach Nidzam Adzha Yu­soff said Kedah still have some way to go to chal­lenge Darul Ta’zim for Malaysian foot­ball supremacy, Bad­drol feels it is not too far-fetched from re­al­ity to think that Kedah can knock the Johor club from their perch.

“It’s not im­pos­si­ble look­ing at how we have been play­ing this year,” said Bad­drol, de­clared man-of-the-match at the Shah Alam Sta­dium. “We would like to re­gain the glory years when we won two con­sec­u­tive tre­bles. Per­son­ally, I want to be part of that kind of win­ning squad again.

“I did not ex­pect us to have won three tro­phies al­ready in three years (in­clud­ing the 2015 Premier League ti­tle) but now we need to fo­cus on the Su­per League and de­fend the Malaysia Cup.

“We need to be well pre­pared to play in the AFC Cup next year as well but it’s up to the man­age­ment in how they want to go about it.

“I hope Kedah can be­come a team to be feared in Asia as well and I am ready to take up the chal­lenge. But we need to gain more ex­pe­ri­ence and in­crease our knowl­edge to be able to com­pete against the best, like Darul Ta’zim.”

On his own per­for­mance in the fi­nal, Bad­drol said he did not ex­pect to score the goals which twice put Kedah two goals up at 2-0 and 3-1.

“I didn’t ex­pect to score tonight and I was just hop­ing to play my best and help the team the best way I can,” said Bad­drol, who now has three FA Cup win­ners’ medal.

“It’s great to score twice but it’s not just about me, it’s for the team and the fans.”

Nidzam, in charge of just his fourth match af­ter tak­ing over from Tan Cheng Hoe, said they will now fo­cus on chas­ing down Su­per League lead­ers Darul Ta’zim when they face Kuala Tereng­ganu T-Team in Alor Star on Wed­nes­day.

“Darul Ta’zim and Pa­hang are two of the best teams in the league while we still have to work hard to close the gap,” said Nidzam.

“We have had a few yo-yo per­for­mances this year and it even hap­pened in the fi­nal.

“We al­lowed Pa­hang to come back af­ter lead­ing 2-0 as we lost fo­cus and it’s some­thing we need to work to fix. Pa­hang used the phys­i­cal strength of their for­wards to their ad­van­tage and utilised their pace on the flanks very well.”

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