In an exclusive interview with Goal, Kelantan's Dickson Nwakaeme gave his thoughts ahead of the FA Cup Final tie with Johor Darul Takzim on June 29 at the Bukit Jalil Stadium
Dickson Nwakaeme, 27, pointed out his excitement in playing for Kelantan in the FA Cup final especially after he was more than just influential in the Red Warriors' journey to Bukit Jalil on June 29. The former Song Lam Nghe An FC (V-League) striker had a foot injury recently but has recovered from the scare and is ready for some silverware.
Goal: This is your first season in the Malaysian Super League. How do you feel working under a successful coach like Bojan Hodak who led Kelantan to the treble last season?
Dickson: Bojan is a good and hard working coach. He cares about his players and whenever we are down he'll always support us. He understands us well. I feel great working with him especially when I see how eager he is to win every game.
G: You haven't spent a full season in Kota Bharu and yet, you have been deemed the hero whenever you take to the field for the Red Warriors. What are your thoughts about that?
D: I don't think I'm the hero. I believe all players, coaches, staff and supporters are the heroes. It just that, when I go onto the pitch, I'll make sure that I'm giving 100 per cent.
G: What do you think about the Kelantan fans who disagree with Bojan Hodak's decisions and strategies with the game?
D: I can understand that the fans always want us to win, and I really appreciate that. They always want to see the best players on the pitch but football is not like that. Sometimes the coach needs to rotate the team to keep us away from injury. But the fans shouldn't be blamed for that. Nobody should. Everyone is trying their best. But so far, I think the Kelantan fans have been fantastic.
G: How do you feel working together with captain Badhri Radzi?
D: What a captain, leader and legend. He reminds me of Cesc Fabregas when the Spaniard was playing for Arsenal. So calm, disciplined and friendly. He always wants the best for all the players and team.
G: Well you have made it to the FA Cup final. What are your thoughts about playing Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) on June 29 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil?
D: I feel great. Johor Darul Takzim are a good team. We also have a good team. It will be a good final of lovely football. I love football very much and I'm always ready for a big game like this.
G: You'll play against two of Kelantan best players last season, Nurul Azwan Roya and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha. They were key to the Red Warriors' success last season. How do feel about taking their place in the squad this season?
D: They were the two big names in Malaysia. And Norshahrul, I believe, is currently the best Malaysian forward. It will be interesting playing against them. I love football so much. So I never see football as pressure for me.
G: Finally, can you comment a little about Kelantan's preparation to face JDT; considering the fact that you guys were struggling to topple Terengganu on the way to the final.
D: We are feeling great. Everyone is happy as this is the most viable piece silverware for us this season. We can't wait for the date. We'll be going out there to put on a show of interesting football and I hope the fans will always be with us.
G: To conclude, do you have any last words for the fans?
D: I love football very much. Going into the final at the end of this month, I hope we can achieve something. We'll always give the best for the fans. I hope they will give us their best too. Finally, take care of yourself and always remember to smile and make other people smile too.
G: Thanks Dickson. We wish you all the best!