Durakovic praises JDT

Ahead of his team's crucial match against Johor Darul Takzim (JDT), Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic has heaped praise on his title rivals for their contributions to local football.

“What JDT have done to Malaysian football is fantastic,” said the Australian.

“They have set the standards and sent out a message to every state and club in Malaysia, saying: ‘Listen, if you want to be a professional football side, you have to follow what we are doing’."

Since being appointed as the new President of Johor Football Association in early 2012, Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has been instrumental in transforming the team into a football powerhouse and improving the quality and development of football in the southern state.

Due to that, the Selangor coach believed following the example of JDT would restore the Red Giants to its former glory.

“From my point of view, [people expect JDT to win trophies all the time and] that is where I want Selangor to be.

“We were once like them years ago when I was still playing for Selangor and people would expect us to win all trophies.

“[It is important because] regardless of what players we have, there should always be expectations on Selangor to be up there [with the best]."

Durakovic's wish could come true this season, as his team are currently sitting at the top of the Malaysian Super League with a five-point lead over their nearest rivals.

However, he refused to see his team as wide favourites for the title.

“Our season has been good so far, but we still have a long way to go.

“The title race is very close and you have JDT, who have some of the best local and foreign players around, and Pahang, who are a very good team that have been together for three or four years.

“[In contrast] my team have only been together for five and a half months!” he laughed.

“You also have the likes of Kelantan, Terengganu and the LionsXII, so it is not easy.

“In this league, anybody can beat anybody on any given day, so we will take one game at a time and try our best."

Selangor will be welcoming JDT to the Shah Alam Stadium on May 24.

(Photo Credit: Zaid Ayid @ www.asiana.my)