KEDAH coach Nidzam Adzha and his Selangor counterpart, P. Maniam won the Malaysia Cup as players.
Now, they want to lead their respective teams to glory in the country’s most prestigious football tournament as head coaches.
Kedah and Selangor face off in the quarter-finals, where the latter will entertain the defending champions in the first leg at Selayang Stadium today.
Kedah and Selangor met each other in the final of the 2015 and 2016 editions. Selangor won in 2015 with Kedah lifting the Malaysia Cup last year.
Nidzam, who was part of Kedah’s 1993 Malaysia Cup winning squad, hopes his players will not show any shortness in play due to lack of practice.
“Many of my players had commitments with the national senior and youth teams. Frankly, I only had my full team three days ago.
“There could be an issue here, but I hope everything will be okay. I have my full team with no injuries and suspensions.”
Nidzam brushed aside suggestions that his team are the favourites to beat Selangor in the quarter-finals.
“Selangor have grown in strength since the start of the season. Maniam is a good coach as he has managed to form a strong team despite critics brushing off Selangor as relegation contenders earlier in the season,” Nidzam added.
Selangor received a huge blow on the eve of the match after it was confirmed that Indonesian winger Andik Vermansyah suffered a foot injury in training.
“Andik is doubtful, but I hope he can be on the bench. Abdul Halim Zainal or S. Veenod will start as a replacement for the Indonesian winger.
“We need to be compact and cautious against Kedah. It is important that we finish off our chances, and also not concede as away goals will count in the competition,” said Maniam, who won the Malaysia Cup twice as a player.
In another quarter-final first leg match today, Felda United are taking a cautious approach when they entertain Premier League’s Perak SEDC in Jengka.
Brazilian striker Thiago Fernandes, who has just recovered from illness, will play for Felda today, but in-form Nigerian Ifedayo Olusegun is out following a knee injury.
“Perak SEDC are a dangerous opponent. Nobody expected them to reach this far. They have nothing to lose and this makes it tricky for us.
“I have been following Perak SEDC’s progress for a long time. They are young and hard working. I have reminded my team not to take things for granted,” said Felda coach B. Sathianathan.
Melaka will host Darul Ta’zim at Hang Jebat Stadium today, while the other quarter-final first leg clash between Pahang and Perak at Darulmakmur Stadium is scheduled tomorrow.