Malaysian champions JDT break ground for indoor training pitch
Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) have further enhanced their reputation as the Manchester City of Southeast Asia by announcing plans to build an indoor training pitch.
The first of its kind in Malaysia, the facility will be built at a cost of around $5 million, next to the club's base at Seri Gelam. It is expected to be ready for use before the start of the 2016 MSL season.
The news comes as Bojan Hodak's side train in Australia at the start of their four-match pre-season tour on which they will play closed-door friendlies against Asian Cup sides from Jan. 5.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the 8,000 square metre training pitch, attended by Tunku Puteri Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim, the daughter of the Sultan of Johor, was held on Thursday.
"The training pitch is compatible with FIFA requirements. This is a New Year gift for the team and its players," Johor FA secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya told The New Straits Times.
With its own Astro turf pitch, the indoor training base will have medical facilities so players can receive immediate treatment during practice sessions. The project will be built by Malaysia's Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH).
"Football is very big in Johor under the leadership of Tunku Ismail," said IWH group executive director Lim Chen Herng. "There is so much pride and passion in the players, fans and supporters of the team. The new facility will certainly be a source of pride to the people of Johor."
JDT are reportedly the richest club in Malaysia, with accomplished foreign imports like the Argentine pair of Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz. This year, they will hope to progress through qualifying for the AFC Champions League and win a treble of domestic trophies.