Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad joins Johor as technical adviser

Less than two weeks after the M-League kicked off, the Johor FA has a new president and a new technical adviser too.

The winds of change took place last week when the association's royal patron  Tengku Ismail Sultan Iskandar announced via Twitter that he had taken over as  president from incumbent Mohd Jais Sarday, who is also the state executive councillor for youth and sports.

There was more to come when Singapore's best known footballer Fandi Ahmad, a household name in this region, was brought in by Tengku Ismail as the FA's technical adviser to "work closely" with head coach K. Sukumaran.

Fandi, who  played Malaysia Cup football with Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang,  signed a three-year contract with the Johor FA and officially starts work on Thursday although he has been helping out with the team since last week.

Fandi had a training session with the team before Johor played  Sime Darby in Pasir Gudang last Friday. Johor scored a come-from-behind 2-1 win to move into fifth place in the 12-team Premier League on nine points.

Prior to that Johor, one of the three unbeaten teams in the league -- the other two are current leaders Police (11 points) and second-placed Pahang (10 points) -- were dubbed the draw specialists after three draws.

"It is a challenge as Johor are a young and inexperienced team. Sukumaran and  I had discussions on this matter. Johor have the material to be a team of reckoning," said Fandi who  also played professional football in Indonesia and Holland (FC Groningen) during his heydays in the 1980s.

It is learnt that Tengku Ismail wants to "cut out politics" in the sport and rebuild Johor into a football powerhouse. Johor won the Malaysia Cup in 1985 and became the first team to clinch a double in 1991 (League Cup and Malaysia Cup) under Australian coach Michael Urukalo.
Johor's target this season is to win promotion to the Super League next year.

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