JDT to announce new coach, send Ben Mora back to second team
Malaysia Super League (MSL) leaders Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) will be unveiling a new head coach soon after announcing that caretaker boss Benjamin Mora will return to his original position in charge of JDT II.
The Southern Tigers, who made the surprise announcement on their Facebook page on Monday, confirmed that JDT assistants Raul Longhi and Ismail Ibrahim will take temporarily charge of the team.
"Benjamin Mora will now return to his original role as head coach of JDT II," said JDT sports director Alistair Edwards via the Southern Tigers Facebook page.
"He has been fantastic in moulding the young players for the first team. Some of the young players we can see today include Fazly Mazlan, Dominic Tan, Afiq Fazail and Hadi Fayyadh. We will reveal the new JDT head coach very soon."
Mora had been in the hot seat for only five months after taking over from Mario Gomez two days before the season-opening Charity Shield against Kedah on Jan. 20.
Based on results, the smooth-talking Mexican had not lived up to expectations after JDT crashed out of two competitions.
In addition to the Charity Shield loss to Kedah on penalties, JDT were eliminated from the FA Cup quarterfinals by Pahang in April.
In May, it was Philippines' Ceres-Negros who sent them packing from the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal semifinals.
The Asian Football Confederation later slapped Mora with a US$7,000 fine for insulting match officials in the heated second-leg, which JDT lost 2-1 in Bacolod on May 31.
From the same game, JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias was banned for a year and given a US$40,000 fine for aggressive behaviour towards match officials.
Despite their Cup struggles, JDT have continued to dominate the MSL, with a six-point lead over closest rivals Pahang and Kedah heading into the second half of the season.
Former Kedah boss Tan Cheng Hoe had previously been rumoured to take charge of JDT, but that situation seems unlikely now that he is assistant national coach.
JDT will welcome bottom side Penang to Larkin Stadium when the MSL resumes on July 1.
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.