Tunku Ismail says he’s buying players to improve JDT


Beefing up the back: Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim signed centreback Shahrul Saad (right) to strengthen JDT’s defence.

PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has lambasted critics for claiming that he is spoiling the Malaysian football league by signing top players from other clubs.

In an Instagram live session titled “Nindia Bola” hosted by football commentator Hafizal Hamad on Sunday, he answered several questions on the national team, Malaysian football and his club.

However, he was piqued by a participant who asked why he is spoiling the league with multiple buying of the players.

Tunku Ismail retorted by asking about the clubs who have not paid their players’ salaries for months.

“If you have four to five teams not paying salaries, who is spoiling the league? Me or the clubs? If they do not take care of the welfare or salaries of the players, how can I be the person ruining the league?” he questioned.

“I spend according to my means. My rivals have to spend according to their budget. In financial management, you mismanage, that’s your failure, not mine.

“I rescue the players who are not getting salaries.

“You can ask the PFAM president about players who haven’t received their wages and what I do for them. Every Raya, who gives Raya pocket money?

“I am the owner of JDT. What’s my responsibility? The success of my club. Whatever the strategy, commercial, recruitment or academy, that’s our responsibility.

“Look at Bayern (Munich), they buy players from their rivals because they want to make their team successful.

“If I have to buy players to improve the team, I will buy that player. If I’ve to develop, I will develop.

“My responsibility is towards JDT. If I have to buy more players, I will buy them.”

Under his leadership, the Southern Tigers have won 17 trophies, of which seven of them were Super League titles. This season, they are top of the league table with 30 points.

He had further enhanced his squad for the Super League when he signed Nathaniel Hong Wan from the Wolverhampton youth team in the second transfer window, and Indonesian midfielder Syahrian Abhimanyu who will return to the club after his loan stint with A-League side Newcastle Jets.

He also added former Perak duo centreback Shahrul Saad and striker Guilherme De Paula in the recently concluded second transfer window.

On another question that his style of managing the club borders on arrogance, Tunku Ismail said to run a professional club, you need to be the best and not be humble all the time.

“If we run a professional club, you need the best transportation, clothing and players. You need to look presentable and professional. In competition, there is no humbleness.

“In competition, you need an ego booster.”

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