Baddrol Bakhtiar, Kedah aim to honour Sultan in Malaysia Cup vs. Selangor
Midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar says Kedah are determined to seek a Malaysia Cup quarterfinal victory against Selangor to honour their late ruler Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, who passed away at the age of 89 on Monday.
Selayang Stadium, which hosts Friday's first leg, will observe a minute's silence for Kedah's beloved ruler, who oversaw the northern state for 59 years and was an ardent supporter of the team.
"It is a real tragedy to learn of his passing. The late Sultan Abdul Halim was a constant inspiration to us players, and he was always there to support us before and after matches," Baddrol told Berita Harian.
"We go to Selangor to seek victory in his honour. Our late ruler was always encouraging whether we won or lost, and we want to do our bit for him with a good performance."
While the nation's rice-bowl state observes a seven-day mourning period for their departed Sultan, Kedah will be determined to brighten the mood by taking home a first-leg lead from Selayang Stadium.
Selangor will be tough to break down, and have already shown a knack of grinding out results when it really matters.
The Red Giants have twice beaten Johor Darul Ta'zim this season, but fell 3-1 to them in their final Group D match last Saturday to finish as runners up and set-up this clash.
Kedah, on the other hand, were dominant in Group C, with five victories and only one defeat.
Their foreign legion of Ken Ilso, Liridon Krasniqi and Sandro Da Silva have already banged 11 goals, and they will once again be the visitors' main threat up front.
Despite losing Tan Cheng Hoe to the national team set up earlier this year, Kedah's strength has not wavered under his replacement Nidzam Adzha.
The former Kedah player, who served as Tan's assistant, has maintained the same ideology of quick passing, possession football.
Nidzam has already savoured his first silverware as coach when Kedah beat Pahang 3-2 to lift the FA Cup trophy in May.
The return leg is on Sept. 24 at Kedah's Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar.
The Red Eagles have won the Malaysia Cup five times, and the Malaysia FA Cup on four occasions.
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.