There’s no other teams that are more successful than Johor Darul Ta'zim in the recent history of Malaysian football. Dominating the domestic competition for a sustained period like no other, the club has spent a considerable sum to accumulate and boast without a question - the best squad in the country.
The club recently released the numbers on their current squad in terms of appearances, substitutions, minutes played, goals, assists and clean sheets - and here are some interesting conclusions that can be inferred from those figures.
Not only is Hariss Harun the inspirational figure in the team and has completely assumed the captaincy role passed on to him from Safiq Rahim, the man is simply incredibly consistent. There are games where the Singaporean is simply a class above the rest and exceptional on the pitch but you can also count on one hand just how many poor games the man has had in his 162 starts for the club.
This season may have seen the 29-year-old suffering from injury which has kept him out of a run of games but in his 7-year stint with the club. Harris has an impeccable record of maintaining not only his performance but also his fitness levels and average out about 30 games a season for the Southern Tigers.
In comparison Diogo Luis Santo has only scored 22 goals in JDT career compared to Gonzalo Cabrera's 51 and Safawi Rasid's 40 but unlike the latter duo, Diogo has only played one full season in Malaysia. That is a substantial return from the player who holds the records of the most expensive transfer ever done by a team in Malaysia.
It is an attacking prowess unlike any other in the competition as JDT possess in them three players who are very capable of being a goal-scoring threat on their own while most teams rely only on the one or two source of goals. The fact that all three players have a high goalscoring rate means a balanced attack that isn't reliant on just one method.
From Kuna to Matt
Perhaps it is because he has been there since the 2015 season but S. Kunanlan assist record isn't something that can be overlooked. He's the only player in the current squad that has double figures of assists apart from the ones that are usually seen as the attacking players in the team. As a defender and a full back, that is an impressive return from the now 33-year-old.
But the transition has begun for Kunanlan as JDT looks to refurbish their squad with the signing of Matthew Davies and after just four matches played this season, the latter has already picked up one assist. With JDT normally dominant in possession, it will certainly give Davies more opportunity to push forward and could even challenge Kunanlan's supply record at the end of his own JDT career.
Akhyar sat more than start
When JDT signed him in 2019, Akhyar Rashid was definitely seen as one of the best young talents not only inside Malaysia but also across the Southeast Asia region but his first season with the champions hasn't been an easy one with only five starts. The fact that he has both Cabrera and Safawi playing so well in the positions that would suit him, doesn't help.
However when given chances on the pitch, Akhyar has also struggled to produce much of the mazy dribbles that saw him explode onto the scene with Kedah and the Malaysia under-age national teams. With only three goals and three assists under his belt thus far at JDT, it doesn't look great but time is definitely on his side given his age and it isn't too late for him to turn things back into ascendency.
Opportunity for midfielders that bust myths
It is believed and has been said by some quarters that in choosing not to go to JDT, a player will be doing his career a world of good in terms of gaining competitive minutes. Some would argue the opposite that given the current state of play in the domestic league, a training sessions at JDT would be more competitive than any match in the domestic calendar. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Proving doubters wrong, JDT has already given Afiq Fazail 75 starts while Nazmi Faiz has 43 already, the latter could well overtake Hazwan Bakri in terms of starts come the end of the 2020 season. Another rung down the age group Adam Nor Azlin (23 starts), Syafiq Ahmad (19) and Syamer Kutty Abba (10) proves that players do get their chances at the club.