JDT have 'best condition' to win Malaysia Cup final - Morais
Coach Ulisses Morais says Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) have the players to finally get their hands on the elusive Malaysia Cup when they face Kedah in the 2017 final at Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
Ever since they were rebranded in 2012, the Southern Tigers have been dominant, with four consecutive Malaysia Super League (MSL) titles.
But in the Malaysia Cup, they have reached the final only once, losing on penalties to 10-man Pahang in 2014.
They crashed out in the quarterfinals of the 2015 edition, and failed to qualify for the knockout stage last year.
Portugal's Morais insists that is all about to change.
"We have the best condition, and best players to get this trophy," Morais told ESPN FC.
"We have too much of confidence in our players, and we worked hard to get here. We want to win."
The Southern Tigers made the final after a 4-1 aggregate victory over Perak in the two-legged semifinals.
After below-par performances in the AFC Cup and FA Cup this season, JDT have shown great interest in the Malaysia Cup by fielding the strongest possible line up in all matches.
As a result, they have scored 25 goals and conceded only seven, despite the injury absence of Brazilian centre-back Marcos Antonio.
But Morais knows his side will have to pull out all stops to get the better of cup maestros Kedah.
"Both teams deserve to be here and we know Kedah have their qualities. It will be a hard game, but we are hoping for a good atmosphere and good football," the Portuguese said.
Kedah boss Nidzam Adzha, meanwhile, is aiming to secure his second trophy with the Red Eagles since taking over from Tan Cheng Hoe in March.
Nidzam masterminded Kedah's 3-2 victory over Pahang in May's FA Cup final at Shah Alam Stadium.
He is hoping the venue proves to be a good omen once again.
"We are playing a third Malaysia Cup final in this stadium, and we hope it will bring us good fortune again," Nidzam said.
"I won this as a player [in 1993], but as a coach the responsbility is way bigger as you have to oversee everything, and be prepared to make crucial decisions in a game.
"It will be a tough match, but we want to wrap it up in 90 minutes, if possible."
In the semifinals, Kedah needed two late goals from Sandro Da Silva in the second leg to see off Felda United 3-1 on aggregate.
Their captain Khairul Helmi Johari said the team's harmony and respect for each other have brought about success, especially in cup competitions.
"There are no stars in our team, and we are a harmonious bunch, despite having equal juniors and seniors. That has been our recipe for success," Khairul said.
"JDT were perfect in the league, but this is a cup final and we are highly motivated to go out and give our best."
The teams cancelled each out in both league games this season.
They played out to a 1-1 draw in the season opener, which doubled up as the Charity Shield, with Kedah winning on penalties.
Last week, the teams drew 0-0 in the final league game in Alor Setar.
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.