KUALA LUMPUR: Losing a dear friend can be tough for anyone, and it is no surprise that Pahang winger Mohamadou Sumareh is saddened over the departure of Matthew Davies.
The Malaysian winger, who has played with Davies in Pahang for almost four years and the national team for two years, said it was not going to be easy finding another partner like him.
“The connection we had did not grow in one day, a week or a month. It was years of work and effort. I have been playing with him for many years now, ” said the 25-year-old, who joined Pahang in 2017.
“Over the years, our friendship has grown, and we trusted each other. It took a really long time to build that. Matt moving to Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) was a bummer, but he deserved that move.
“That is football. Everybody moves on. It is not going to be the same without Matt.
“Any new player in his position will have to adapt to our style of play, and it cannot be done in a game or two.
“We will try to figure something out and see what works best for both of us.”
Sumareh and Davies have been a regular fixture for Pahang on the right side of the field for the past three years and their telepathic partnership is feared by many clubs in the Super League.
In the national team, they have also reproduced that partnership with their one-twos, breathtaking movements and ability to conjure up chances on the right-wing.
Off the field, they shared a great friendship and are often seen joking off the pitch, and on social media.
Davies had been with Pahang since 2015 and was made captain in 2016 after club legend Jalaluddin Jaafar retired after the 2015 Super League.
Last season alone, Davies played a whopping 49 matches for club and country.
“Players come and go, but the team stays. Even though Matt is gone, which is a significant loss to us, it is not the end of the world. We still have to stand our ground and fight.
“We have things to achieve, as well. Matt has been loyal to Pahang, given everything to the team by playing week in, week out. He is a thorough professional on and off of the field.”
With the new season approaching, Pahang now have less than 10 days to get over Davies. They face Selangor on Feb 29 at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
Sumareh said that with the foreign players finalised, coach Dollah Salleh was arranging a lot of friendlies before the season-opener to ensure that the new players adapt to the team’s style of play.
“They (Brazilian striker Ivan Carlos, Lebanese defender Khalil Khamis and Filipino midfielder Adam Reed) are settling in. We are playing lots of friendlies to gain fitness and understanding.
“The coach has a system, and he wants them to know it. We don’t really have time but we will gradually improve.”