Analysis

TMJ: Figueroa will be given time to prove himself at JDT

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) will give Luciano Figueroa time to prove himself as the team’s new manager and head coach, as the club’s owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ismail (TMJ) affirmed his faith in the former Argentine international.

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“I want a coach who sees things in the same direction as me, someone who understands the clubs sentiments and DNA. If Luciano Figueroa wins one day, great. But if he doesn’t, then I will give him time,” said TMJ at a fans session on Sunday.

“If he can give us two years of his career and gave us what we wanted, is it fair for us to punish him after a few months? I don’t think we are brought up that way. Which is why Figueroa is the head coach and Benjamin Mora his assistant.”

Figueroa has done well together with Mora so far, keeping JDT firmly in sight to qualify for the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals.

The 37-year-old has spent four years with the Southern Tigers since joining as a player in 2014, and played a key role in their league titles in 2014 and 2015.

The Olympic gold medalist is also understood to be a highly influential figure in the dressing room, and his experience playing at the highest level will benefit the club at next year’s AFC Champions League.

Besides working with an accomplished familiar face, the five-time league champions were also mindful that recruiting a new head coach would mean more expenses for the new man’s team as well.

TMJ also continued to appeal to fans to turn up at Larkin Stadium.

“The club has tried many initiatives to get the fans to come to the stadium, including bearing the cost of two to three buses for every district to shuttle fans to the stadium.”

“The management also maintains the same policy of keeping ticket prices at RM10 only, the cheapest in the country. JDT has raised trophies and wrote history after history, but we are still stuck with declining fans attendance.”

TMJ’s pleas have not fallen on deaf ears, with almost 8,000 fans turning out to witness the 1-0 win over Kelantan, the highest in their Malaysia Cup campaign.

Photo Credit: Johor DT