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 By Nicolas Anil

JDT name Ulisses Morais new coach in place of Ben Mora in MSL

Malaysia coach candidate Ulisses Morais
Former Malaysia national team candidate Ulisses Morais is JDT's new head coach.
 

Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) have appointed Portugal's Ulisses Morais as new head coach to replace Benjamin Mora for the rest of the 2017 season.

Less than 24 hours after announcing Mora would be moving back to JDT II, Morais was officially unveiled as the new man to take the club forward on Monday night.

"Morais will be taking on the role as head coach and manager of JDT," said the Southern Tigers via their Facebook page.

"The Portuguese coach has a vast experience coaching at various Portuguese clubs such as Famalicao, Aves, S.C Beira Mar, Academica De Coimbra and many more. We hope that with this experience under his belt, he will be able to take JDT to greater heights."

Morais, 57, comes to Malaysia after he was previously linked with the country's national head coach position.

But JDT's Johor Crown Prince owner, who is also the Football Association of Malaysia president, eventually settled for Morais' countryman Nelo Vingada.

This will be the former forward's first venture to Asia, after spending all his managerial career back in Portugal.

The journeyman boss won't be able to have a settling-in period with the Malaysia Super League leaders.

After crashing out of the FA Cup and AFC Cup in the span of five weeks, JDT can't afford to slip up in pursuit of a fourth consecutive league title.

While that looks a big possibility with the Southern Tigers having a six-point lead over Pahang and Kedah, JDT will also have their eyes on the Malaysia Cup as their other chance of silverware.

If Morais can last the pace beyond this season, the biggest challenge he will face is getting JDT through the gruelling qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League.

Jason Dasey and Stanley Bernard break down JDT's AFC Cup second leg against Ceres that saw them ousted by a controversial penalty.

The Johor giants came within 90 minutes of making it into the group stages in February before falling 3-0 to Japan's Gamba Osaka, sending them to the AFC Cup.

Morais, who met the JDT players on Monday, will have less than two weeks to assess their strengths ahead of the visit of bottom place Penang in the league on July 1.

After that, Morais will lead his team in the Malaysia Cup where they are placed together with Selangor, Terengganu and Sarawak in Group D.

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.

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