EYEING A RETURN TO GLORY YEARS
Kedah FA Cup hero Baddrol gunning for treble
DEVINDER SINGH email@example.com
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.”