JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) football team's hunger for success was key in them winning their fifth consecutive Malaysia Super League title, Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan said in an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Jul 19).
JDT's 2-1 victory over Perak last Tuesday (Jul 10) earned the club a historic fifth consecutive Super League title, with four matches still to play.
Tunku Ismail stressed that JDT's consistent performances in domestic competitions were key to the team's success this season.
"That is what you can see today in Johor ... I put a lot of pressure on the club, on my players to perform all the time, and I think after (initial) success we got addicted to it.
"We wanted more success and more success, challenging ourselves when it comes to achieving something, so that's the main goal, always challenging the club, challenging the potential, to strive and hit our target," he said.
JDT first won the title in 2014, one year after Tunku Ismail took over the ownership of the club. He recalled how he had to set realistic expectations when he first became owner, targeting a top four finish in the league standings and quarter-final finishes for cup competitions.
Tunku Ismail reiterated that JDT's success is very important for Johoreans due to their collective love for the game.
"I love football, because regardless of any age group, any race or religion, everybody's together. So JDT represents that," he said.
JDT's victory in the MSL this season has also granted them automatic qualification into the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage, making them the only Malaysian team to ever feature in the group stages of the regional tournament.
Commenting on the achievement, Tunku Ismail said: "Being there itself is already a success to me and my club. It's an honour and privilege for me to be participating in the ACL."
On the team's chances of success in the competition, the Johor Crown Prince said: "Obviously we want to do well, but we are patient, we are realistic. It's about moving forward."