Pahang utility player Zesh Rehman says that he will miss playing against LionsXII after the Singaporean side were left out of Malaysian domestic football for the 2016 season.
In an unanimous vote on Tuesday night, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided against extending the team's four year involvement with the Malaysia Super League (MSL) as well as the Malaysia Cup and Malaysia FA Cup.
The news came through after Pahang defeated LionsXII 4-1 in Tuesday night's quarterfinal first leg in the Malaysia Cup in Kuantan.
Rehman said the announcement took him by surprise ahead Saturday's quarterfinal second leg in Singapore. The decision will also exclude Malaysia's Harimau Muda from the S.League as part of the reciprocal arrangement.
"I will miss playing LionsXII because they forced you to work hard for a result," Rehman told ESPN FC. "Despite their relative youth, they are well exposed on the international scene and always cause the opposition problems."
Reigning Malaysia Cup champions Pahang and LionsXII have had some memorable duels in recent seasons, with the Singaporean outfit winning 4-2 at home in August.
"I think they added a healthy rivalry to the MSL and some good fun with banter between the fans," Rehman said.
"More importantly they added a quality team to the MSL who held their own and even won some trophies so they proved they were no pushovers."
LionsXII followed up their win in the 2013 Malaysia Super League by lifting the 2015 Malaysia FA Cup title in May.
But Rehman admitted there was one aspect of the Singaporean side's involvement he will be glad to be free of.
"To be totally honest, I won't miss playing on the astro turf pitch at Jalan Besar Stadium."
The controversial venue will host the two teams in Saturday's quarterfinal second leg, which is likely to be LionsXII's last game in Malaysian domestic competitions.