SELANGOR midfielder Safiq Rahim (pic) has grabbed the one thing most precious to teammate Amri Yahyah -- the captain's armband.
Amri, 31, had captained Selangor to many notable victories in the past but his armband was handed over to Safiq when the latter was serving a three-match suspension in the Malaysia Cup while vice-captain P. Gunalan was injured.
While Safiq has done well as captain, Amri is not sore about it as the former international has regained his scoring touch with four goals in the last two group matches to help Selangor top Group D and earn a two-leg quarter-final tie against Johor FC.
Safiq, also the national captain, is known for being erratic but since putting on the armband, his performance has improved.
Selangor coach Irfan Bakti said Safiq is now showing more urgency. "We have given him the task to captain Selangor and so far he has done well. He is a good leader," said Irfan yesterday.
"The reason is we want him to raise his game ahead of Malaysia's assignment in the AFF Cup."
Selangor, 32-time Malaysia Cup champions, will travel to Pasir Gudang to face Johor FC in the quarter-final first leg on Tuesday and then host the club side in the second leg in Shah Alam on either Oct 2 or Oct 5.
The FA of Malaysia will confirm the date for the return leg on Wednesday.
Selangor are eager to end their two-year title drought but will not have it easy against Johor FC, who edged the former Super League champions on penalties in the FA Cup second round in March.
"We want revenge. We made a mistake by being too cautious in the FA Cup but it won't happen this time," said Irfan.
"Johor FC are a good side and proved their mettle by overcoming LionsXII at home and holding them to a draw in Singapore in Group A.
"We must not be too hasty and more importantly, must focus on our game.
"I believe I have a good team, good enough to win the title." By Ajitpal Singh