Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jalaluddin is ace in the pack

Coach Dollah has 'gut feeling' skipper could be match winner for Pahang
Thursday, October 31, 2013 - The Malay Mail

PAHANG coach Dollah Salleh has singled-out his captain and veteran player, Jalaluddin Jaafar, as his trump card against defending champion Kelantan in Sunday's Malaysia Cup final.
When Pahang last won the Malaysia Cup in 1992, Dollah was a member of the team with current team manager Zainal Abidin Hassan. English coach Mike Brown, had picked rookie rightback Zulhamizan Zakaria as his ace in the pack.
Mailsport had highlighted the story and it turned out that the 23-year-old Zulhamizan was the match-winner against Kedah in the final scoring the only goal in a record 98 seconds.
It was off the first corner kick awarded in the game to Pahang, which Mubin Mokhtar took. The ball was cleared by the Kedah defence to midfield, where Pahang skipper Allan Davidson picked up the loose ball and sent it behind the Kedah defence where Zulhamizan had overlapped to face Kedah goalkeeper Azmi Mahmud in a one to-one situation. Azmi made a blunder in wanting to clear the ball at the top of the box and Zulhamizan won the ball to coolly put in into an empty goal.
Dollah is naturally hoping that history will repeat itself.
"Without doubt, it is going to be difficult final for us as Kelantan are the experienced finalists. The majority of my players have not played in a Malaysia Cup final," said Dollah.
"That is why I am picking Jalaluddin as my ace in the pack. He is the most experienced player in the team, and despite his age (38), is among the fittest player in team. Although he operates at rightback, he lends support in attack and the very next instance is back in defence.
"Don't get me wrong. Every player who takes the field on Sunday is equally important and have to carry out their duties effectively for us to do well.
"But it is just that my gut feeling says Jalaluddin will do something special for us.
"Besides, he has not won a Malaysia Cup medal and he will be eager to make it happen," said Dollah, who turned 50 on Oct 10.
"I am hoping that winning the Malaysia Cup will be my belated birthday present."
The Pekan-born Jalaluddin, who signed for Pahang in 1997 after guiding the Malaysia Games team to the football gold medal in the 1996 edition, has indeed come a long way in his football career.
He helped Pahang win the Premier League title in 1999, Super League in 2004 and the FA Cup in 2006.
He also played for Shahzan Muda FC – a development team of Pahang FA for two seasons. He was loaned back to Pahang in 2009 for the Malaysia Cup campaign and stayed with the team ever since.
The Malaysia Cup is the only medal missing in his trophy cabinet.
The closest he had come to lifting the trophy was in 1997 when Pahang, then coached by Dane Jorgen E. Larson, were beaten 1-0 by Selangor.
Jalaluddin is planning to call it quits next year and naturally he wants to end his career with a Malaysia Cup winner's medal.

No comments: