* ‘Iron Man’ Nwakaeme could destroy Perak
* A win for either Pahang or Perak will dislodge Police from the top
A win for either Pahang or Perak could see a change at the top of the Super League when the two play their 10th league match at Kuantan’s Darul Makmur Stadium on Tuesday after recording morale boosting wins on Saturday.
Perak pulled off a stunning 2-1 win over Selangor at the Shah Alam Stadium to inflict a painful first home defeat on the Red Giants while Pahang contained neighbours Terengganu with a 3-2 win at home – riding on a brace by their lanky Pakistan defender Zesh Rehman and one by Argentine hitman Matias Conti.
But the man to be watched against Perak is none other than Nigerian ‘Iron Man’ Nwakaeme who is the ace in Pahang’s pack and head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan is counting on his prized possession to deliver against the high riding Perak.
Both teams go into the fray with 17 points each after nine match but Perak are in fourth place on a better goal difference (17-11) while Pahang are one rung below with figures of 12-8.
Nwakaeme was the toast of Pahang in their 7-4 demolition of Myanmar’s Yadanarbon FC in a Group G match in the AFC Cup last Wednesday which puts the Elephants on the verge of a place in the Round of 16 – needing only a point from their last group match which is against Global FC of the Philippines in Manila on May 13.
The strong built Nwakaeme plundered a hattrick against the big win over Yadanarbon but at the same time muffed the same number of chances. Still he warmed Zainal’s heart with three assists on the night.
And Zainal is counting on Nwakaeme and said: “It has not been the best of start to our league campaign but we are slowly catching up despite the tight schedule.”
Pahang are also in the FA Cup semi-finals and will face Kelantan in the first-leg in Kuantan on May 9.
Nwakaeme himself is confident that Pahang will be “up there challenging for honours” on all fronts and the match against (which was earlier scheduled to be played on April 19 because of the AFC Cup), could change the scenario in the Super League.
“We will take one match at a time and will have to play our cards right because the tight schedule,” said the Nigerian, who has also scored six times in the league.
Zainal also has more options with the D. Saavindran settling down well with his new team and scored a brace against Yadanarbon.
“I must admit that my players are a tired lot but we have managed to cope with the situation. There is depth on the bench and this allows me more options when the need arises,” said Zainal from Kuantan.