Christie Jayaseelan backs Yamil Romero for Pahang in FA Cup final
Christie Jayaseelan has described his new teammate Yamil Romero as Pahang's secret weapon in the 2017 Malaysia FA Cup final against Kedah at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
The Argentina forward, who replaces Bright Dike, is expected to make his debut for the Elephants against the Canaries after Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) approved his transfer this week.
Based on early observations in training, Christie is confident the former Boca Juniors reserve can make an instant impact.
"He is a fast and skillful player, but his strength is his killer passes. If our forwards can find space, he can pick them out in good positions," Christie told ESPN FC.
"Attacking wise, we are confident of scoring in the final. Almost all of our attacking players have already scored this season, so we are confident of goals."
Romero is expected to link up with Pahang forward Maheus Alves in an attempt to penetrate the Kedah defence.
The Brazilian already has 14 goals to his name in 2017, including two in the FA Cup.
For Christie, though, the main aim would be to get as much playing time in the final.
The Kajang-born speedster grabbed a crucial goal in injury time against Negeri Sembilan in the second leg, semifinal in a 2-1 win, to take Pahang to the final 3-1 on aggregate. After only featuring five times this season, Christie is desperate to make an impact.
"Every player wants to play a full match in any final, but even if I get some playing time I would be happy. I can make a difference with my pace and runs to create space," Christie said.
The ex-Malaysia international also picked out Kedah's Liridon Krasniqi and Sandro Da Silva as the dangermen.
"Liridon can drag two to three players with his ability to keep possession, and Sandro is also good from set pieces," Christie said. "We must do our best to close them down, and not give any of their forward line any space at all."
This final also marked Pahang's return to trophy contention after the struggles of last year which saw them finish a lowly ninth in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).
Christie says winning a first silverware since their treble-winning 2014 season would spark a transformation within the team.
"Pahang are a big side who are used to winning many trophies. If we win the Cup, it will bring back that winning feeling. The motivation of the players will also be high to try and win the league," Christie said.
2016 Malaysia Cup champions Kedah will also be bidding to win their first FA Cup title since 2008.
That year, they also won the MSL and Malaysia Cup.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.