Goal.com's 2013 MSL Team Preview: Johor Darul Takzim FC

Goal.com Malaysia takes an exclusive look at the big teams that will be competing for the upcoming season's Malaysian Super League title
By Falah Abdullah

Zamir Selamat, Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Zulfadhli Muhamad


Aidil Zafuan, Muslim Ahmad, Azmi Muslim, Tharmini Saiban, Tuah Iskandar


Safiq Rahim (Captain), Azwan Roya, Ezaidy Kadir, Yusri Abas, Fazly Mazlan, Faizal Mansor, Redzuan Nawi, Del Nero


Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan (Vice Captain), Dani Guiza, Syamim Yahya, Zaquan Adha

After so much hoopla surrounding their star signings and the rebranding of their football club, 2013 will unquestionably be the defining year for Malaysia’s very own Paris Saint Germain, Johor Darul Takzim FC.

The Southern Tigers were catapulted into the attention of football fans all across Malaysia, and arguably the rest of Asia, when they purchased the Euro 2008 winning Spanish striker Dani Guiza, amidst interest from other La Liga clubs such as Real Betis and Real Zaragoza. Their foreign import quota was later filled by another European star, former Lazio winger Simone Del Nero.

Prior to their amazing Spanish acquisition, Johor Darul Takzim FC pulled off a triple transfer coup involving Malaysia Cup finalists and Malaysian internationals: Aidil Zafuan, Zaquan Adha and Azmi Muslim.

ATM coach, B. Sathianathan concluded the equilibrium shift of the spending powers in Malaysian football precisely to The Star, "We thought we were the ‘Manchester City of Malaysia’ … but it appears there is a bigger Manchester City out there. We would have kept them with us but we could not match what the other team is offering them.”

A plethora of national football stars followed suit, namely skipper Safiq Rahim, Norhshahrul Idlan Talaha, and chief striker Safee Sali. They have also secured the signing of Kelantan’s other influential forward; Nurul Azwan Roya.

These star names will definitely be the solid foundation of the team.

However, the real transfer coup for the club is perhaps the appointment of Singapore’s legendary striker, Fandi Ahmad as the head coach. He is a known admirer of attractive short passing football which was displayed by the impressive performances of Premier League club Johor in the Malaysia Cup last season. His attacking philosophy bodes well with the notion of utilizing the offensive flair at Darul Takzim’s disposal.

The Singaporean legend will be ably supported by a strong backroom staff comprising of former internationals, Ismail Ibrahim and Sabah’s fabled goalkeeper, Khairul Azman. This is imperative to ensure that the harmony of a team that boasts so called many star names is being kept.

On paper, Johor Darul Takzim certainly boasts the strongest squad in the Malaysian Super League. However, could this promise be translated into a dominating performance this season? We shall wait and see.

Johor Darul Takzim FC | Fact File

Super League 9th
FA Cup Quarter-finals
Malaysia Cup Quarter-finals
Home Stadium Larkin Stadium, Johor Bahru
Team Colours Red (H)
Blue (A)
2013 Verdict Champions