Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Johor Darul Takzim

Once again it is Johor Darul Takzim who have attracted the headlines with the signing of Pablo Aimar ahead of the new signings. While that may have made the media round the world sit up and take notice, the recruitment of Baihakki Khaizan and Hariss Harun will have made fewer ripples.

Yet it is to the two Singaporeans that the former Argentine international will be looking for guidance as he settles into a new environment and culture.

There will be two Johor Darul Takzims in Malaysian football next season with second tier Johor changing their name to that of their cross town rivals, with a suffix of II.

With both teams sharing the same name and coming under the same banner is there not some kind of conflict of interest? I asked this question on Twitter recently and was roundly slated by a few nationalists who felt that because Barcelona had a B team or reserve team playing in the Spanish second division, it was ok for JDT reserves to play in the second tier of Malaysian football.

Putting aside the argument that if it is good enough for Spain it is good enough for Malaysia, are JDT II in a position to get promoted? Are they playing in the FA Cup or Malaysia Cup?

Because Barcelona B cannot get promoted even if they win the Segunda and they cannot compete in the national cup competition. In other words, Barcelona B cannot get to meet Barcelona with Fabregas et all in a competitive game full stop for obvious reasons.

Likewise in Germany. Most teams have their reserve teams play lower down the pyramid but you will not see Bayern Munchen going head to head with Bayern Munchen A in a competitive football match.

JDT, backed by the royalty of the state, have done much to change the landscape of the game in Malaysia domestically in the same way the efforts of Rajagopal and Ong Swee Kim have changed the fortunes of Malaysia at least in Asean.

They will be hoping for a return on their investment after finishing last season with no trophies.

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