In a video published on Johor Darul Ta'zim's official Facebook page, the owner of the club HRH Tunku Mahkota Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahm, Regent of Johor said that among the things he would like JDT to achieve in the 2020 season would be progressing past the group stage of the AFC Champions League.
A far tougher task than first imagined given the draw that was done on Tuesday which saw JDT being placed together with South Korea's Suwon Bluewings, China's Guangzhou Evergrande and a third team likely to be Japan's Emperor Cup winner. Suwon and Guangzhou have a rich history in the competition having won it twice before.
But despite the gargantuan responsibility placed on the team in only their second ever foray in the group stage of the most elite club competition in Asia, team manager Luciano Figueroa is not throwing in the towel yet and vowed to give their all to achieve their owner's objectives.
"It's good to have pressure because we are in a very big club. And in a big club, the pressure is there. It is always our objective to do our best and try to reach the next round. It will be very tough like always. The Champions League is a very tough level and we'll play against three very difficult teams. We will analyse how we will play against them but I think we can do better than we did last season.
"Last season was a good experience for us. Experience always help. We have a good team with good players. We have started pre-season and we will try to do good in the new season. We have to improve many things, always. But these players know now how to play against these difficult teams," said Figueroa after the draw.
In their debut outing last season, JDT put in commendable performances both home and away to raise considerable eyebrows all across Asia. Not only did they score in home and away matches, they also managed to gain an incredible home win against Kashima Antlers as well as a home draw against Gyeongnam FC.
Putting their faith in the same squad of players, Figueroa will be working closely with head coach Benjamin Mora to ensure another year of progress in the ACL, especially now that other teams are already aware of what they are capable of doing in the competition.
JDT will kickstart their campaign with an away match against the yet to be decided Japanese club on February 12 before hosting Guangzhou and Suwon on February 19 and March 3 respectively. An away trip to Suwon follows after that on April 8 before returning back to their home ground to face the Japanese club and JDT will close out their group stage away at Guangzhou on May 5.
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Group G Guangzhou Evergrande @suwonsamsungfc Japan Emperor Cup winner @officialjohor. Sekali lagi JDT akan bertandang ke