BREAKING: JDT and Mario Gomez part ways

Just days before the start of the 2017 Malaysia Super League (MSL) season, defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) provided a massive shock by parting ways with coach Mario Gomez, who has been instrumental in the Southern Tigers’ incredible period of success.

Gomez had been preparing the team for the new season and the all-important AFC Champions League qualifier against Bangkok United at the end of the month, but instead JDT will have a new man in the dugout.

The club wasted little time in promoting former JDT II coach Benjamin Mora to fill his shoes.

The Mexican will start work immediately, as the three-time consecutive league winners face Kedah in the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup curtain-raiser on Friday, a match that also doubles up as the first match of the new MSL campaign.

This decision was derived for the betterment of the club as the philosophy and the direction of the club is paramount to anything else

“I would like to take this opportunity to announce that JDT and Mario Gomez have mutually agreed to embark on separate paths,” read a statement by club president Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim.

“This decision was derived for the betterment of the club as the philosophy and the direction of the club is paramount to anything else.

“Nonetheless, I would like to take this opportunity to convey my greatest appreciation and say thank you to the legendary coach for his tremendous contribution to the club during his tenure. We would also like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours”

Gomez, who last year became the only coach to survive an entire season at JDT since the Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim revolution began in 2012, replaced Croatian Bojan Hodak midway through the 2015 season.

He defended the league title and then helped JDT become the first Southeast Asian side to win the AFC Cup that year.

Then in 2016, Gomez ensured JDT won a record third straight MSL title and lifted the FA Cup.

It is still unclear who JDT have lined up as replacement, but their penchant for success and foreign expertise means it is unlikely the club will hire a Malaysian coach.