KUALA LUMPUR – Four years of experience with some Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players while coaching the national squad will not give Selangor FC head coach Tan Cheng Hoe an advantage ahead of the 2022 Malaysia Cup final clash tomorrow night.
Cheng Hoe, who is guiding Selangor against JDT in the Red Giants’ first Malaysia Cup final since 2016, said his previous experience with Southern Tigers may expose him instead in the clash at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
He said the line-up of JDT players who had been with him would understand the game play and tactical approach which would be used in tomorrow’s match, thus being able to scuttle Selangor’s dream of winning the championship for the 34th time.
“Although I know and understand the strength of each JDT player, that is not a guarantee for me and Selangor to win tomorrow’s match… but as I always say to the players in any game, what is important is the individual performance.
“For me, if the players can put on the best performance and show high confidence, maybe we can achieve a positive result,” he said at the pre-match press conference of the Malaysia Cup final between JDT and Selangor at the National Stadium here today.
Cheng Hoe was first appointed to handle the national squad in December 2017 which saw the 54-year-old coach succeeding in reviving the national team’s performance before deciding to step down in early January this year.
Cheng Hoe’s last championship in the domestic football scene was winning the 2016 Malaysia Cup with Kedah who beat Selangor in a penalty shootout in the final.
In the meantime, he said that only defender Yazan Al-Arab could not be fielded following a match suspension while the rest of the players were at their best after undergoing several intensive sessions.
Meanwhile, defender Sharul Nazeem Zulpakar sees tomorrow’s final as an opportunity for all players to make Selangor famous after the team went through a seven-year championship drought since winning the 2015 Malaysia Cup.
“Selangor have not won any championship for a long time, so I think this is the best time for the players to show their mettle to win the Malaysia Cup this year, I also hope my teammates give their best in the 90 minutes tomorrow,” said the 23-year-old player.
Selangor are the most successful team in the Malaysia Cup competition with a record 33 championship titles while JDT emerged champions twice in 2017 and 2019 since the club’s establishment in 2013.
The record of the last five meetings in all competitions favours JDT who scored three wins and two draws against Selangor. Their last encounter ended in a 1-1 draw in the Super League match at the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium, in September. – Bernama