English Daily New Straits Times featured an interview with Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (JDT) owner HRH Major General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Sultan Ibrahim, Crown Prince of Johor on the importance of having football-minded people running teams in Malaysia.
HRH urged political and personal agendas be put aside in order to grow football in the country.
“Each club must have their own identity, must be very creative in terms of their own ideas and not just copy JDT or what we are doing,” said HRH Tunku Ismail.
“They can use JDT as an example but, at the end of the day, they must find their own philosophy. As long as they are comfortable with the government’s backing and or have wrong individuals in positions at their clubs, they will never go anywhere.
“Unless they have the right guy who’s fulltime with no other agendas, just wants to work for football and consider it a profession then it will work. But, if someone had been put there for other reasons, then it will never work.”
HRH Tunku Ismail said that at JDT, he is surrounded by individuals who work for football and dare to challenge his ideas.
“In JDT, they are all football people, they have something in common with the owner, that is myself. I love football, they love football,” said Tunku Ismail.
“They have experience in football and I’m the guy who likes to learn, to be innovative, take risks. Sometimes they even tell me: “I don’t think this will work,” and they are surprised when it works.
“We, somehow, fill in that gap in terms of each other’s weaknesses and turn it into strengths. So, their knowledge, their experience plus my determination, knowledge and hunger for success somehow molded into a good project.”
The Johor football project that started with the club’s rebranding in 2013 has produced six Super League titles, five Charity Shields, two Malaysia Cups and an FA Cup. JDT is also the first team in Southeast Asia to emerge as AFC Cup champions in 2015.
Hidup Johor Demi Johor