KUALA LUMPUR: This year is turning out to be a memorable one for lanky midfielder Fadzrul Danel Nizam (pic).
After heartbreaks in the Sukma and President Cup finals last year, the 21-year-old midfielder has seen his football career take off this season.
He has been a regular face in Kedah’s first XI and also had a one-month training stint with then English Premier League side Cardiff’s Under-23 team this year.
On Saturday, the Sungai Petani lad turned supersub by scoring the winning goal in their 1-0 win over Perak in the FA Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
He came on for David Rowley in the first-half of extra time and within minutes, capitalised on a quick counter-attack when rightback Rizal Ghazali breezed past Nazirul Naim on the right and made a crisp pass into Perak’s penalty box.
Fadzrul rushed in from the blind side to coolly slot the ball into the back of the net in the 105th minute.
“This was the biggest game of my life. Coach Aidil (Sharin) told me to move the ball forward and add more pressure to Perak’s midfield and defence,” said the youngster.
“A week before the final, I had visions of lifting the Cup. I trained hard and told myself to utilise any opportunity that came my way.
“It was a nervy affair because this is the first time I’m playing in a big match in front of more than 80,000 spectators.
“Last year was a year to forget. I lost in the Sukma to Perak and the President Cup to Terengganu. Now I’ve won something bigger and I would like to thank God for that.”
Meanwhile, his teammate and skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar became one of two players to win the FA Cup four times with one team. The other player is teammate and vice-captain Khairul Helmi Johari.
“This is certainly an achievement that I’m proud of. There have been lots of changes this year and we went through a lot of obstacles but we remain united. I’m thankful to bring this trophy back to Alor Setar,” said the 31-year-old national player.
“We will also get to compete in the AFC Champions League playoffs. It’s every player’s dream to play on the the big stage and I’m glad it’s going to happen to us next year.”