KUALA LUMPUR, 27 Aug – East Coast giants, Pahang were late starters due to several factors when the Malaysian Football League (M-League) got things moving after getting clearance from the authorities to allow teams to resume training.
Just like many other teams, the Elephants also fell victim to the ravaging Coronavirus (Covid-19) but Pahang, although ill-prepared due to various factors are ready to face six-time Super League champions, Johor Darul Takzim (JDT).
The match will be played at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan but it will be a close door affair between the two football giants.
JDT are hot-favorites runaway with the Super League title once again but Pahang aims to put the brakes on the Southern Tigers.
JDT lead the 12-team Super League with an unbeaten record – winning three of the matches and drew one – when the M-League was suspended due to the movement control order (MCO) imposed by the federal government to check the spread of the virus.
The defending champions have 10 points from four matches while Pahang is fourth-placed on six points from the same number of games.
After JDT the Elephants will travel away to face UiTM FC in Shah Alam on Sept 5 before taking on Police (Sept 12) at home. They will take on Felda United (Sept 20), away with Kedah traveling to Kuantan on Sept 26. It will be another home match for Pahang when they entertain Perak on Oct 3.
Pahang head coach Dollah Salleh is counting on his team to pull through despite the odds against the visitors.
“Let us put it in simple words…we are ill-prepared due to several factors. We got our training started rather late. That puts us behind compared to others (teams),” said Dollah, a former national coach.
“At the same time, our team spirit is second to none. The players are committed and disciplined even when it is not plain sailing for them. I expect them to take the field full of fire as pride and dignity are at stake.”
Pahang will be led by their Nigerian ace Dickson Nwakaeme. The other foreigners expected to feature in Dollah’s match plans include French defender Herold Goulon and Brazilian striker Ivan Carlos.
Still, Dollah, a former Johor player himself, tilted the stakes in JDT’s favor as the Southern Tigers have enough depth on the bench. Without a doubt, JDT is one of the best-managed football teams in the country or even in the region.

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