JDT manager Bojan Hodak was showered with water from a cooler box after his team beat Sarawak 1-0 to lift the Super League title on Wednesday in Kuching. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star
PETALING JAYA: Newly-crowned Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) are aiming for bigger goals.
The Southern Tigers won’t rest on their laurels and plan to make an impact in next season’s AFC Cup. JDT and FA Cup winners Pahang are Malaysia’s representatives.
JDT manager-cum-coach Bojan Hodak said their ambition is to raise the standard of football in Malaysia.
“As the best team in the country, we must strive to move forward and aim to win bigger goals in our endeavours,” said Hodak yesterday.
Malaysia have a poor record in the AFC Cup, which was introduced in 2004. All the representatives have failed to get past the quarter-finals. This season, Kelantan and Selangor were a letdown and even failed to get past the group stage.
Hodak said JDT should make a strong challenge in the AFC Cup, provided the fixtures were favourable to them.
“When I was coach of Kelantan, I took them to compete in the AFC Cup. It was not good at all for us as the fixtures were tight and hectic,” said Hodak.
JDT were crowned Super League champions for the first time in their history when they edged Sarawak 1-0 at the State Stadium in Kuching on Wednesday. They finished top of the 12-team standings with 44 points, three more than Selangor.
Last season, cash-rich JDT made headlines with a number of big buys. They, however, failed to win any silverware – finishing second to Kelantan in the FA Cup final (1-0) and third in the Super League.
Hodak, who led Kelantan to the treble in 2012, was roped in only in the middle of the season to replace Spaniard Cesar Jimenez. Then, JDT were in sixth position.
“I understand the players better. I have been here (in Malaysia) long enough and this made the difference to transform them into champions,” said Hodak.
Under Hodak, the team won nine matches, drew once and lost once on the way to the crown.