Malaysia’s soccer giants launch new stadium in élan


Malaysia Iskandar Puteri new stadium Image: Johor FA

Johor Darul Ta’zim Football Club – a football club based in Johor Bahru at Johor in Malaysia – has recently unveiled its new facility which can sit 35,000 spectators. The Sultan Ibrahim Stadium sits in the city of Iskandar Puteri.

Founded in 1972, the football club is the reigning champion of Malaysian Super League – the top division of Malaysian football.

The facility has been named after Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the present ruler of the State of Johor – and RM200 million (US$47.2 million) was spent to build the venue. It took four years to build the structure with construction work beginning in 2016.

Sultan Ibrahim inaugurated the stadium which has been designed like a banana leaf and the venue has been equipped with LED floodlighting to give fans a stupendous experience. It is accompanied by multicolor and multirhythm building lights. The stadium launch was a colorful event.

Located in Johor Bahru District, situated along the Straits of Johor at the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, the stadium precincts will enjoy a training center, souvenir shops and restaurants in the future.

Commenting on the new venue, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who owns the club, stated that the opening of the stadium was a watershed moment for the club – “The last seven years have been great both on and off the field for JDT (Johor Darul Ta’zim) … and the opening of the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium marks another milestone for the Southern Tigers squad.”

“JDT has grown exponentially since the club’s founding in 2013 and today we have succeeded in overcoming the norms of Malaysian football … (whereby are) constantly striving to create new benchmarks that will surely raise standards and challenge the limits at the international level,” he further noted.

Sited on an 11.3 hectare site, which also lodges the club’s headquarters, the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium is the only national football stadium to use the original ‘Zeon Zoysia’ grass and also boasts a drainage system that can prevent water from stagnating on the field in case of a heavy shower and can also recycle water.

‘Zeon Zoysia’ is a genus of creeping grasses widespread across much of Asia and Australia, as well as various islands in the Pacific. This grass can tolerate wide variations in temperature, sunlight, and water.

The performances of British singer Leona Lewis and two Johor-born artistes Ayai and Akim brightened up the inaugural ceremony which was followed by brilliant display of fireworks in and around the new residence of Johor Darul Ta’zim Football Club.

JDT’s previous home ground was the Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, popularly known as the Larkin Stadium, which could fit in round about 30,000 spectators and was their residence for six very successful seasons in Malaysia’s domestic scene.

Top sports officials attended the inaugural event which was also graced by the likes of Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah and JDT owner Tunku Ismail Idris.

The Malaysia Rugby Union has also confirmed that they will also be coming up with their own rugby arena in Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

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