JOHOR BAHRU: The success of the national football squad in qualifying on merit for the 2023 Asian Cup after beating Bangladesh 4-1 in the final match of their qualifying campaign last night is also very meaningful to Johor.

Menteri Besar, Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said this was because 15 of Johor Darul Ta’zim FC’s (JDT) players and former players were in the Harimau Malaya squad.

“Congratulations on the success of the national football squad in ending a 42-year wait to qualify for the Asian Cup.

“I am grateful because the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim had laid the foundation for the development of national football.

“Without the continuous effort and support from His Highness to revolutionise football from various aspects, I believe Malaysian football would not have reached this level in which a four-decade wait has ended,” he said via a statement uploaded on his Facebook page today.

Onn Hafiz also said that this year was a proud one for Johorians after JDT also succeeded qualified for the second round of the Asian Champions League for the first time.

“I pray this success is not an end but a beginning for Johor football to continue carving a name on the world stage,“ he said.

Yesterday, the Harimau Malaya squad under Chief Coach, Kim Pan Gon trounced Bangladesh 4-1 in the final action in Group E of the Asian Cup Qualifiers competition.

The victory, witnessed by 52,964 spectators enabled the national team to collect a total of six points to end the qualifying campaign in second place behind Bahrain and, as among the top five group runners-up, confirm their place at the 2023 Asian Cup. — Bernama