Izham lauds return of King Figueroa to JDT

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Izham Tarmizi is confident that Luciano Figueroa hasn't lost his touch and his presence will be vital to JDT's cause in the upcoming 2018 season.

The 26-year-old goal keeper for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) isn't worried about the return of Figueroa despite the Argentine having previously retired from competitive football for two years now.

Instead, Izham is more than delighted to have the fan favourite, Figueroa back in the team and is confident that the 36-year-old forward still has what it takes to propel the JDT side to a higher level when the new season starts.

Figueroa was the surprise new signing announcement having been back at the club as an ambassadorial role and replaces the outgoing Mohammed Ghaddar. Another Asian slot is still open and expectations are that the player will be one in the striking role, as a partner to Figueroa.

"I didn't expect that he will play back but it's a tonic for us to prepare for the new 2018 season to prepare for the ACL or AFC Cup. I hope that with the presence of Lucho and the other new faces will be good for the team. It's a good decision for the team."

"He's still at a very good level despite not playing for two years. He has been training with us and have provided us with a lot of pointers as well. A good leader and example for not only the young players but also for the experienced ones," said Izham.

JDT reached the final stage of the AFC Champions League (ACL) qualifiers in 2017 but lost out to Japan's Gamba Osaka. They are expected to take on Thailand's Muang Thong United in the 2018 qualifiers targeted to take place on January 23.

Results in recent years in the continental cup competition has lifted Malaysia's Member Association club rankings within Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Malaysia are in-line to receive an automatic place in the group stages of the ACL in 2019 when the latest rankings are announced.

This means that the winner of the 2018 Super League are likely to be the first Malaysia representative in the ACL and that recognition is something Izham is desperate to claim for himself and JDT.

"Our target is of course to play in the ACL. Last season we almost got there and this year with squad that we have, the target is of course to retain the Super League, go for the FA Cup as well as trying out best to reach the ACL," added Izham.

Izham together with Afiq Fazail, Badhri Radzi, Khairul Helmi and Nurridzuan Abu Hassan were the footballers present at the launch of the iconis adidas Predator boot range that is making a comeback after 12 years with the release of the adidas Predator 18 introdueced at an exclusive event at Football Republic KLCC.

"Very happy to see this boot coming back in its new iteration. Last time when I was in the President's Cup, I also wore the Predator. It's something that is historic and legendary, to wear it again does give a lot of motivation," Izham explained.

The second coming of the Predator will be worn on-pitch by the likes of Paul Pogba, Dele Ali, Ivan Rakitic and Mesut Ozil. It is available at Football Republic and all adidas stores nationwide.

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