Pahang skipper Razman Roslan (left) and his Felda United counterpart, Shukor Adan, holding the FA Cup trophy during the press conference at the Shah Alam Stadium on Friday. - YAP CHEE HONG/ The Star
PETALING JAYA: The FA Cup final tonight could see history being made as Felda United seek to become the first Premier League club side to win the trophy since its inception 24 years ago.
Sime Darby FC were the first club to make the final in 2012, followed by Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) last year.
But both clubs were halted by Kelantan at the final hurdle.
So, can Felda defy the odds against the Super League boys Pahang at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday night?
Sime Darby head coach Ismail Zakaria said that, based on his experience, it would be tough for Felda to upstage the Elephants.
“The Cup final is a different ball game ... and the reality is that no club side have won since 1990,” he said.
“Of course, we had a shot at winning it in 2012 but we fell at the final hurdle. We tried everything, including ‘parking the proverbial bus’ but still lost,” said Ismail.
The fans too, he pointed out, play a big role.
Pahang have been playing to a full house (more than 30,000 fans) at home since winning the Malaysia Cup last year.
They will be the favourites compared to Felda, who can barely attract 500 fans in the Premier League.
However, arrangements are being made to ferry thousands of Felda settlers to the final.
One thing for sure is that the Cup final will not be short of spectators at the 70,000-capacity Shah Alam Stadium.
The stage is set for the two coaches to draw up their battle plans.
Felda coach Irfan Bakti has loads of experience, having led Penang and Terengganu to win the FA Cup.
The ‘Fighters’ have trump cards in veterans Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Mohd Shukor Adan and prolific goal-getter Edward Wilson Junior, who has scored 16 goals in the Premier League.
Fleet-footed wingers R. Gopinathan and Mohd Azamuddin Akil should provide the sparks for Pahang down the flanks while strikers Matias Conti and Dickson Nwakaeme should be the danger men up front.