Football: Public holiday declared in Johor after historic AFC Cup win; Hariss Harun 1st Singaporean to lift trophy

JDT supporters cheering on their team during a football match.
JDT supporters cheering on their team during a football match. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU - The Johor government has declared Sunday (Nov 1) a "special event holiday" in the Malaysian state, following its football team's historic victory in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup final on Saturday.

Johor Darul Takzim (JDT), with Singapore midfielder Hariss Harun in its starting line-up, edged Tajikistan's Istiklol FC 1-0 in Dushanbe on Saturday evening.

JDT's win marks the first time a team from South-east Asia has won the AFC Cup, which is into its 12th year.

Previously, the tournament had been dominated by sides from the Middle East.

Hariss is also the first Singaporean to lift the trophy. The 24-year-old had signed for JDT in 2013.

Argentine attacker Leandro Velazquez scored the winning goal in the 23rd minute.

In a Facebook post on the JOHOR Southern Tigers Facebook page before the final, state secretary and Johor Football Association president Ismail Karim had said the state would celebrate with a public holiday should JDT prevail against the odds.

Sunday is considered a working day in Johor, after a much-publicised decision to shift rest days to Friday and Saturday starting from Jan 3, 2014.

The move was to allow Muslims, which make up almost 60 per cent of the state's 3.4 million people, to perform their Friday prayers in a "more peaceful manner".