Benjamin Mora replaces Mario Gomez as Johor Darul Ta'zim coach
Benjamin Mora has been promoted as Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) new head coach following the departure of Mario Gomez on Wednesday, and will immediately get down to business ahead of the Charity Shield against Kedah on Friday.
Mora, who went to La Liga heavyweights Atletico Madrid for a month-long stint in November, takes over the reigning Malaysia Super League champions after steering JDT II to third place in the second-tier Premier League in 2016.
Much will be expected from the Mexican. He had the privilege of working with Diego Simeone, who led Atletico to five titles since taking charge in 2011.
"Benjamin Mora, in the time he has been at JDT, has shown that he has been able to get JDT II to play in line with the JDT philosophy on a low budget," said JDT sports director Alistair Edwards via the Southern Tigers Facebook page.
"In the off season, Benjamin spent one month at Atletico Madrid as part of his professional development to prepare him for this role."
Mora will have to live up to Gomez's success in leading JDT to five trophies after the Argentine took over in April 2015.
Gomez's biggest achievement was delivering JDT the AFC Cup in 2015, which also made them the only Malaysian side to have won the continental tournament.
He also propelled the Southern Tigers to an unbeaten run in on their way to a third consecutive MSL title last year, in addition to the Charity Shield and a maiden FA Cup title.
But Gomez has given Mora another quality, vibrant outfit to do well in 2017, beginning with Friday night's Charity Shield clash against Kedah at Larkin Stadium.
Mora has plenty of star names at his disposal, including newly signed Argentines Gonzalo Cabrera and Jeronimo Barrales, who are likely to spearhead the attack.
Besides the duo, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Nazmi Faiz, Safawi Rasid and R. Gopinathan add to a glowing cast of local players he will be working with.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.