BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Johor Darul Ta'zim FC (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim's capture of the Malaysian FA presidential seat in the 53rd congress almost three weeks ago has been received with mostly enthusiasm by members of the Malaysian footballing fraternity and fans alike.
The Crown Prince of Johor is seen by many as the man to take Malaysian football out of the doldrums, especially when he has successfully shown the way with the Southern Tigers, by capturing multiple domestic titles and the 2015 AFC Cup, having taken control of the club only in 2013.
However, despite the ascendancy of Tunku Ismail, who is also known as TMJ to fans, to the Malaysian FA (FAM), his team have been going in the opposite direction. In the two matches played by JDT ever since the FAM congress, they have lost both. The Tigers have yet to present their chief with a presidential win 'present' on the pitch.
Last Saturday the Suthern Tigers lost 3-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final FA Cup tie against rivals Pahang, and on Wednesday they fell to a 3-2 defeat to Global FC in their AFC Cup group match.
Global vs JDT match highlights
Against the Tok Gajah, JDT missed their usual intensity, and fell to a more clinical Pahang. And in the encounter against Global at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, a disastrous lapse in concentration saw them concede three goals in the space of eight minutes to a side they earlier thumped 4-0 in the home fixture.
Two back-to-back defeats may not be as calamitous to other Malaysian sides, but to the high-achieving club it was an embarrassment.
JDT lose two matches in a row (not including penalty shootouts) for the first time since February 2015. — Darren Goon (@Box_to_Box) April 5, 2017
As a result, JDT will now have to beat Pahang with at least a two-goal margin at home in the second leg, while playing catch up with the Philippine side, who pipped them to the first spot in Group F.
Predictably, their own fans are already outraged, calling for head coach Benjamin Mora's head, while criticising Tunku Ismail's decision to hire him as former boss Mario Gomez' last-minute replacement before the start of the season.
Furthermore, Tunku Ismail's first two weeks as FAM president have been fraught with several issues, most apparently the effort to appoint Gomez as the new Malaysia head coach, and the sudden appointment of Super League leaders Kedah head coach Tan Cheng Hoe as the Argentine's assistant.
JDT need to give their chief his first good news in almost three weeks, by winning their first match since March 14. This Sunday they will take on neghbours Melaka United in the league at home, and they should use the match as an opportunity.
The struggling Mousedeers have not won in all competitions since February 21, and now is the Tigers' best chance to bounce back from their back-to-back defeats, as well as to give Tunku Ismail some good news for a change.