JDT coach Raul Longhi dedicates MSL title to TMJ and Kunanlan

Nicolas Anil

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) title winning captain Hariss Harun commended his fellow teammates, whom he said never lacked in belief after the Southern Tigers came from behind to beat Perak FA 2-1 to confirm their fifth consecutive Malaysia Super League (MSL) title.

Two goals in nine minutes on Tuesday from Hariss and Safawi Rasid had confirmed yet another league success for JDT, after Perak’s Nor Hakim Hassan had given the hosts a lead that would only last for four minutes.

“When the chips are down, we needed some players to step up and pick the team up and that’s exactly what we did,” said Hariss after the win.

“We had the belief to turn it around, and we did so. I think it all boils down to the character we have built over the years. Some of the foreign players have been here for some time now, and that experience rubs off on the younger boys who have just come in.”

“We are elated to have won this for the fifth time.”

JDT have gone from strength to strength over the years.

They have clinched the MSL title a month earlier this season compared to last year’s victory which was sealed in August.

The Southern Tigers achieved this despite reshuffling their coaching and foreign players’ personnel midway through the season.

Ulisses Morais had left JDT in February to attend to family matters, leaving Raul Longhi to pick up the mantle which he so seamlessly assumed.

Even when the club raised eyebrows by dropping Harry Novillo and Jorge Santos Silva after only three games, Fernando Elizari and Fernando Marquez came in and are justifying that sudden change.

Longhi himself paid tribute to the main man behind JDT’s success since they were revolutionized in 2013.

“I want to dedicate this win to our boss TMJ, whom I know is very happy. I also want to dedicate this victory to S. Kunanlan (whose dad passed away on Monday), and our fans who have been behind us throughout the season.”

With yet another league title wrapped up, the Southern Tigers can now concentrate on fielding their fringe players for the remainder of the league.

They will go on to face Kedah FA (July 13), Kelantan FA (July 17), PKNP FC (July 21) and Kuala Lumpur FA (July 27).

Photo: JDT