Johor Darul Takzim FC-Luciano Figueroa# Brazilian striker finds it difficult adjusting to JDT’s style of play – Tunku Ismail

# Rangel could end up playing in the lower tier Premier League

# Star player Luciano Figueroa is now the assistant coach


Paolo Rangel’s future of seeing action in the elite Malaysian Super League hangs in the balance this week following indications from Down South that the Brazilian is struggling with the style of play of the Southern Tigers.

After plying his football trade in the elite Super League with Perak, Selangor and Terengganu, Rangel made the decision to move down south to sign a two-year contract with Super League and AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Takzim for the new season.

However, Paulo Rangel maybe relegated to the lower-tier Premier League and play for JDT II – a move that is not impossible as the Brazilian has not really settled down well  with the star-studded southerners.

According to JDT owner Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the Crown Prince of Johor, Rangel’s case will be decided soon by coach Mario Gomez before the team’s Charity Shield match against Malaysia Cup champions Selangor.

“Expect changes in the team for the new season. Paulo Rangel might be moved to JDT II. It would seem that he is not suited to  JDT’s style of play at the moment and may need time to adjust. He may even be loaned to other clubs in the M-League,” said Tunku Ismail in a posting of Southern Tigers Facebook.

Tunku Ismail also revealed that “Lucho” (Luciano Figueroa will take over from Mario Gomez at the head coach of JDT when the time comes.

“Figueroa will return to JDT in February as the assistant coach to Mario. He wants to continue serving JDT, loves JDT and wants to live in Johor and wants to be part of the JDT FC project.

Tunku Ismail reiterated that JDT are not only a football team but a club for Bangsa Johor and the state of Johor.

“As long as Johor develops the club will develop as well because JDT belongs to Johor. There are no players who do not want to play for JDT. This is because of the environment on and off the pitch. The JDT players are willing to spend their entire careers in Johor rather than moving to other clubs because no other clubs are as professional as JDT FC.”

According to Tunku Ismail the good lifestyle in Johor is also a contributing factor why players want to play for JDT. Singapore is located across Johor while Mersing and other islands are just nearby.

JDT created Malaysian and Asian football history last season by becoming the first Malaysian team to win the AFC Cup.

With the signing of Rangel, JDT have filled their four foreign quota. However, JDT have also shortlisted three players as Rangel’s replacement. The other foreigners in the JDT squad are Singaporean midfielder Hariss Harun, Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio and Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

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