Pahang’s Dollah Salleh wants more from Chan Vathanaka ahead of JDT

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

With many of his stars on the injury list, Dollah is expecting more from the likes of Cambodian star winger Chan Vathanaka to step up against JDT.

Dollah Salleh has issued another challenge to Cambodian winger Chan Vathanaka to step up his game, as he prepares to take his Pahang FA side to face Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

After the first leg finished goalless, the Elephants will be looking to score in the second leg at Larkin Stadium this Friday to put the onus on the hosts.

With injuries hampering many of his star men like Safuwan Baharudin, Matthew Davies and Francis Forkey Doe, Dollah wants someone to step up and take the lead.

He has singled out Vathanaka as a possible player to do just that.

“I am expecting more from him, but that is the best he can give me so far,” Dollah told Fox Sports Asia.

“It is not bad, but as a foreign player he should be doing more. I believe he is capable of more, and I want to see that.”

This is the second time that Dollah has called out to the Cambodian to raise his game, after admitting in February that Vathanaka “hasn’t performed at the level he had been before”.

The former Malaysia national coach’s stark assessment is a reflection of Vathanaka’s plight since he set the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup alight by terrorizing opponents, including Malaysia.

Excitement and anticipation was sky high in Cambodia when the country’s best player joined Japan’s J3 League side Fujieda MYFC in 2017.

But the move didn’t go as planned, as Vathanaka only made one cameo appearance and struggled to adapt to his new surroundings because of language barrier.

When Pahang came calling, the winger didn’t hesitate in his bid to get more game time and rejuvenate his career.

Jadual perlawanan sepanjang bulan April 2018. Skuad Tok Gajah akan menghadapi 2 perlawanan Unifi Liga Super dan suku akhir Shopee Piala FA.

Posted by Pahang FA on Thursday, 29 March 2018


But after only scoring once in pre-season, this move hasn’t panned out as planned, and Dollah wants more.

With only one recognised forward Patrick Cruz available for the game at Larkin, the wily tactician is expecting his midfielders to get among the goals, including Vathanaka.

In the 2-2 draw against Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Vathanaka fared well with a free-kick that was tipped away, before he saw a close-range shot saved.

Dollah also moved Vathanaka from the left to right wing, in an attempt for him to cut in with his favoured left foot and have more shots on goal.

Whatever the case, Vathanaka has limited time to impress before the second transfer window comes along in June.

Malaysian sides are known to have limited patience with foreign players, and with games coming in thick and fast, Vathanaka needs to deliver immediately.

There have also been rumours of a potential move to sign former Terengganu FA forward Issey Nakajima who was spotted in training with the Elephants last week.