PETALING JAYA: It will be a childhood dream come true for Perak’s J. Partiban (pic) when he plays in front of a packed crowd at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The winger has always wanted to play at the Bukit Jalil Stadium since he picked up the game at the age of seven and tomorrow, he gets the chance to realise his dream when Perak clash with Kedah in the FA Cup final.
The 26-year-old Partiban said playing the FA Cup final is the pinnacle for any Malaysian professional footballer.
“When Terengganu qualified for the Malaysia Cup final last year, I thought it would finally happen (to play in Bukit Jalil), but the organisers decided to host it in Shah Alam,” said Partiban, who played for the Turtles last year.
“Since becoming a professional, I’ve played in all the grounds in Malaysia, except for the one in Bukit Jalil.
“I’m going to relish every moment playing in Bukit Jalil. It’s more than a dream come true. It would be even better if I can win my first Cup with Perak,” said the two-footed winger.
Kedah will be without Brazilian centreback Renan Alves, who is suspended, but Partiban does not see that as an advantage for Perak.
“It’ll be a 50-50 game. We want to win it after 15 years, while Kedah want to show that they are a new team capable of success too,” he said.
“Expect early jitters but if we can produce the same form that we showed against Pahang in the second-leg semi-final match, then we have a chance of winning it.”
Partiban added he did not want to fall prey to his opponents’ mind games.
Earlier, Kedah defender Shakir Hamzah stated they could win if they keep Perak strikers Leandro Santos and Careca at bay.
“Kedah know our strengths. Shakir even spoke about Leandro playing mind games,” said Partiban.
“Shakir has every right to say those words to motivate his players. I don’t see all that as pressure.”
Although featuring in his second Cup final, Partiban said his father K. Janasekaran had constantly reminded him to stay grounded.
“My father is not a big football fan, but he does watch my games in Ipoh. When there are positive comments, he tells me not to let it get to my head,” said Partiban.
“He always tells me to believe in myself. All these words will surely spur me to do better.
“I hope to repay his faith in me and also the love and support shown by the Perak fans by winning the FA Cup.”