JDT will return stronger: Tunku Ismail

JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) defeat at the hands of Kuala Lumpur City FC (KL City FC) in the finals of the 100th Malaysia Cup competition on Tuesday, has been described as a ‘wake-up call’ by club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (pix).

The Tunku Mahkota of Johor, however, insisted that the Southern Tigers would return stronger.

“I was just thinking about taking a break from football next year, but after what happened (on Tuesday) I don’t think that will be happening. As I once said, ‘a wounded Tiger is always eager to bounce back’,” he said through a post on the Johor Southern Tigers’ official Facebook, yesterday.

Tunku Ismail admitted that over the last three seasons, JDT had become too comfortable and confident, and had not spent much on the squad.

“But now, after what happened, we will start spending again, because we have been challenged. It will make us more motivated to compete next year.

“I consider the defeat is a positive for JDT. We will become more obsessed with correcting our mistakes and strengthening this team,” he said.

As such, he said the team would undergo pre-season training in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to play with several local clubs there as well as European clubs in preparation for the next season.

Tunku Ismail also revealed that some players will be retained, while others would be sent out on loan or released.

“JDT Technical Director (Alistair Edwards) will make further announcements for the supporters in more detail later,” he said.

In the meantime, the Tunku Mahkota of Johor thanked all fans of JDT Football Club for the support.

He also expressed his congratulations to all players, coaches, and staff of JDT for making it the only club in history to win the league title eight years in a row, and qualify for the AFC Champions League.

KL City lifted the Malaysia Cup trophy after a 32-year wait by beating JDT 2-0 in the final which took place at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. – Bernama