Zesh Rehman: Pahang hold edge over JDT in Malaysia Cup final
Pahang's dominant record this season over Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) could play on the minds of the league champions in Saturday's Malaysia Cup final in Kuala Lumpur, according to Pahang's ex-Fulham defender Zesh Rehman.
Rehman is aiming for his third trophy in less than 12 months with defending Malaysia Cup champions Pahang and his seventh in three years in Asia. He's expected to partner fellow import Damion Stewart in central defence, the Jamaican international with whom he played for Queens Park Rangers in England.
"We are not afraid of JDT," Rehman said. "We faced them four times in all competitions this season and drew twice and beat them twice. So I think that will play on their minds.
"We will respect the opponents. But, by the same token, we go into the game confident because you cannot buy team spirit, togetherness and the will to run for each other on the pitch."
Rehman added that confidence was high in the Pahang camp after their 5-0 victory over Premier League side Kedah FA in last Friday's semifinal second leg to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit which saw many observers ruling out their chances of defending their title.
"We have not been too fussed about people writing us off or having their own opinion. This is because we believe in ourselves and each other that we can beat any opposition in Malaysia," Pakistani captain Rehman said. "The only pressure we have felt is that we have put on ourselves to maintain our standards and retain the Cup."
The Birmingham-born 31-year-old joined Pahang soon after they won the 2013 Malaysia Cup with a 1-0 victory over Kelantan in the final. He's already lifted the Charity Shield and the Malaysia FA Cup this year, but says the 2014 Malaysia Cup would be the best trophy of all.
"Winning the Malaysia Cup is probably the highlight of all the local players career. It would rank very highly for me and the other imports," Rehman said. "It would be a massive honour to add it to my trophy collection because it has so much history and tradition. It would be the icing on the cake to round off a great season."
Pahang are looking to win the Malaysia Cup for the fourth time in their history. They are coached by ex-national striker Zainal Abidin Hassan, a former Pahang and Selangor favourite who earned 138 caps for Malaysia between 1984 and 1996.