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FA Cup final: Shakir dreams of seeing Kedah fans go wild after final whistle

20:03 GMT+3 25/07/2019
Shakir Hamzah, Kedah, 23072019
Singapore's former bad boy Shakir Hamzah wants to help his Malaysian club Kedah reach new heights, starting with the FA Cup final this Saturday.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Kedah are in the FA Cup final, with the Red Eagles set to face Perak this Saturday at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

The success of their campaign so far has been achieved with the help of two Singaporeans on the team; head coach Aidil Sharin Sahak and centre back Shakir Hamzah.

The defender has been an instrumental figure on Aidil's team; who recently also finished the Super League campaign in fourth place.

Both joined the Red Eagles before this season began from 2018 AFC Cup Asean Zone champions Home United, and according to Shakir, being able to continue working under Aidil has tremendously helped his first ever season at a non-Singaporean club.

"Although I've played in the Malaysian league previously with LionsXII, this time around I'm here as a foreign player, which carries a considerably bigger responsibility. An import player is expected to be better than their local counterparts, and I'm willing to give my all.

"I've worked with Aidil for 13 years, we had parted ways for a while before we were reunited last year (at Home United). This has allowed me to understand his gameplan, which in turn facilitates me in executing his instructions," he explained.

Aidil Shahrin Sahak (left). Photo by Sports Regime

Returning to Malaysia and being away from his home country have also allowed him to mature and distance himself from his former reputation as a controversial player, admitted the 2013 Super League winner when asked by Goal.

"For me, I want to let bygones be bygones," answered the Singapore international, almost bashfully. "I've forgotten all about my past. But honestly, all that has happened has taken me where I am today. This is all Allah's plan for me. 

"If people still want to think of me as a bad boy, than it's up to them. What I can do is prove to them that I am now a changed man. If I haven't changed, I wouldn't be here in Malaysia now. I am more mature these days, I want to go far and I am not stopping for anything."

And for the man who only wants to look ahead, this Saturday's FA Cup final and the chance to take his club to the continental stage as the cup final winners is the perfect opportunity.

"Winning the final would be the best present for myself as I've never won silverware as a local player [at a Singaporean team], except for the one Super League title. But to win a trophy, God willing, for a Malaysian team in a Malaysian competition, I'll get to see the crowd go wild. That's what I want to see for myself!

"Furthermore, winning the cup will take Kedah to the AFC [Champions League play-offs], where we need to be in order to move forward. I don't want us to be stagnant, I want us to take on bigger challenges.

"Asia is not going to be easy, it's going to be competitive. But if we get to hang on to our core players and are handed a favourable [play-off] draw, then God willing we can reach the group stage," said Shakir, brimming with confidence.

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