KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) are always ready to release their players to represent the national team, provided the competitions are held during world governing body FIFA’s calendar for international matches.
JDT owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), said if that condition is met, he will also not hesitate to lend the club’s facilities and expertise as a sign of their full support for the Harimau Malaya.
“I will also release (the players) and give my full backing, but if not during FIFA’s schedule, in my view as the person paying the players’ salaries, the matches are not beneficial and a waste of time.
“But if (the matches are held) during the FIFA calendar or for any FIFA competitions, not only will I release my players but also offer the national team the use of JDT’s technology and facilities. For example, they are training at the Seri Gelam Field in Johor Bahru tonight,” said Tunku Ismail.
The TMJ said this at a media conference after gracing the ceremony to officiate the grass pitch replacement project at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
Tunku Ismail also re-emphasised his willingness to provide full backing to the Harimau Malaya, saying: “We give our full support to the national team and all their training programmes.”
The TMJ’s statement puts to rest national football fans’ assumption that JDT are not keen on releasing their players to join the Harimau Malaya, who are coached by South Korean Kim Pan Gon.
The issue cropped up when Harimau Malaya supporters felt that JDT refused to release their players for the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup competition despite being called up by Pan Gon.
Earlier, the process to replace the cow grass at the National Stadium pitch with the Zeon Zoysia type, which is sponsored by Tunku Ismail, officially began today.
Also present were Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and her deputy Adam Adli Abd Halim. - Bernama