AFC Championship Asia
But the reinforcement of Malaysian players in their squad should make a difference in regional competitions. Last season, when both Diaz and Lucero were suspended, JDT lost 3-1 in the second-leg semifinal against Bengaluru FC, to bow out 4-2 on aggregate. Clearly, coach Mario Gomez doesn't want to be so reliant on his foreign forwards for 2017, hence the signing of Hazwan, along with his ex-Selangor teammate Nazmi Faiz, plus Syahrul Azwari (Sarawak), Safawi Rashid (T-Team) and Haziq Nadzli (PDRM FA).
Even getting to the final ACL preliminary round game n 2017 would mark a sign of progress for JDT. For the last two years, they've fallen at the first hurdle to Thai opposition, most painfully losing on penalties last year to Muang Thong United.
For JDT to travel to Japan, after winning in Thailand, would be a watershed moment for the Johor club. An indication of the J-League's quality is the fact that Kashima Antlers are only one game away from the final of the FIFA Club World Cup after beating South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in Osaka on Sunday.
JDT's 2015 triumph in the AFC Cup was, without doubt, a breakthrough for Southeast Asia, after a combination of gritty performances, helped by some generous doses of luck. They seemed dead and buried after losing 3-1 to Al-Qadsia in the semifinal, first leg, only to progress to the championship match when the Kuwaiti side were ejected from the competition due their nation's ban by FIFA.
In the final, they were outplayed by FC Istiklol on the synthetic surface of Dushanbe. But the Tajikistan side blew a number of chances as JDT prevailed 1-0, thanks to Leandro Velazquez's 23rd minute goal.
Indeed, it will be an anti-climax if JDT fall short of their ACL target and end up in Group F of the 2017 AFC Cup where trips to Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia would be in prospect.
Very quickly, the ambitious and impatient Johorians have outgrown games against less-than-intimidating Southeast Asian opposition.