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JDT name new indoor training pitch after 'father of Johor football'

JDT's Alistair Edwards
Alistair Edwards (left) with Dato Suleiman Mohd at a recent JDT home game at Larkin Stadium.

Johor Darul Ta'zim's impressive new indoor training facility, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, was officially opened on Thursday by the Crown Prince of Johor.

The Prince -- Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) -- announced that the all weather arena will be named after Dato Suleiman Mohd. Noor, widely known as the 'Father of Johor Football'.

The state of the art arena in Johor Bahru cost more than US$4 million and was sponsored by Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) under its Corporate Responsibility programme. IWH are also one of the major sponsors of the high-flying club.

JDT's sports director, Alistair Edwards, said that it was fitting that the new centre was named after a man who had done so much for football in the state.

"Today was a special day for Dato Suleiman who is affectionately referred to as the father of Johor football by HRH TMJ and rightly so," Edwards told ESPN FC.

"On a personal level, having played under Dato Suleiman in 1991 and 1992, I am so pleased that his contribution to Johor football has been recognised in this way."

When Dato Suleiman was deputy president of the Johor Football Association, Johor won the 1985 Malaysia Cup and were double winners in 1991, during Edwards' first season after moving from Singapore.

"It was an emotional and proud day for Dato Suleiman, who attended the ceremony, his family and the people of Johor," ex-Australia international Edwards added.

Edwards sits next to Dato Suleiman at Larkin Stadium at every home game of JDT, who are second on the 2016 MSL table, one point behind Felda United.

They have already qualified for the 2016 knockout phase in the defence of their AFC Cup title and lifted the 2016 Charity Shield in February after beating Selangor on penalties at Larkin Stadium.

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