TMJ wants to take charge of Harimau Malaya, promises improvement


KUALA LUMPUR – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) football club owner, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (picture) wants to take charge of the Harimau Malaya squad to propel the national football team to long term success.

The Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) through a series of stories on Instagram, said he will provide the team with the best training facilities and coaches.

“To (the) FAM President, allow me to be in charge of the national team. I can’t promise you instant success. But I can assure you of improvements,” he posted in the Instagram story referring to Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) President Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

“Realistic targets, step by step. Every positive step is a bonus. If the results are not good, we work harder,” he said.

Tunku Ismail also implied that going away for national team duties was more like going on a summer holiday for some, and no more a mission or call of duty.

“The system must change. After this, do not offer (player) naturalisation (conversion) easily. It will be controlled and analysed by the national team technical team. Whether the player suits our style of play,” he said.

The former FAM president also questioned why the players seem to perform well with their respective clubs, but failed to shine with the national team.

The Crown Prince said even after having won 17 trophies, the JDT players, under his leadership, play each and every game with intensity, discipline and focus as if they were hungrily pursuing their first trophy.

“You want to know what was the first thing I did in JDT? I controlled the access of team from (the) media, journalists, companies and even players’ use of social media. Total exclusivity which allowed the players to be more focused on their job,” he posted.

The Harimau Malaya squad has been facing criticism after losing 4-0 to the United Arab Emirates and 2-1 to Vietnam in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Group G matches, recently.

Not able to deliver expected results despite having three naturalised players – Mohamadou Sumareh, Guilherme de Paula and Liridon Krasniqi – in the squad, had brought about much frustration among the local football fraternity and fans.