It was a historic moment in Malaysian football on 22 November 2018 when JDT's name was pulled out of the draw of the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage draw.
JDT are entering the tournament as direct qualifiers to the group stage for the first time after years of building up sufficient coefficient ranking points in the AFC Club Rankings to earn the slot.
However it will not be an easy first season in the competition proper for The Southern Tigers as they are drawn in the East Zone Group E together with South Korea (3rd team), winner of playoff 4 and winner of playoff 2.
The playoff 2 will be between Shandong Luneng or Beijing Guoan against the winner of preliminary stage 2 clash between Thailand's Bangkok United and Vietnam's Hanoi FC.
Meanwhile the playoff 4 will be between Japan (4th club) versus the winner of preliminary stage 2 (Newcastle Jets v winner of PS 1.4). The preliminary stage 1 will see Singapore's Home United go up against Indonesia (1st club).
"We know that the ACL is very difficult and very high level. So we have to be ready and prepare the pre-season well so we can give our best. Next year will be very important for the club. It's a historic year for the club and for Malaysia. We will train well to be ready for this competition," said Luciano Figueroa the JDT team manager after the draw.
Meanwhile Super League runnersup Perak will go up against Hong Kong's Kitchee in the preliminary stage playoff with the match taking place in Ipoh. Should Perak come through victorious against Kitchee, a South Korea club awaits in the Playoff Stage.
If Perak gets through against the Korean team, they will be placed in Group H where Sydney FC, Kawasaki Frontale and Shanghai SIPG await.
The first group matches are scheduled to take place starting March of 2019 while the preliminary stage playoff 2 will take place on 12 February 2019.
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