PETALING JAYA: Mario Gomez has raised the ire of Football Association of Malaysia president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim by denying he had asked for more money to coach Harimau Malaya.
As a result, the Johor crown prince, more popularly known as TMJ, has dropped the 60-year-old Argentinian from being considered for the job of national team coach.
“I was informed that Gomez had denied asking for a higher salary. We offered him US$25,000 (RM110,841) but he asked for US$45,000 (RM199,540),” Tunku Ismail said in a posting on FAM’s Facebook page.
“Isn’t he asking for more than what we have offered? No problem, we will look for another individual who really wants to be Malaysia’s coach.”
Gomez is the former coach of Johor Darul Takzim (JDT), which is owned by Tunku Ismail
After having steered JDT to the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title in 2015 and 2016, it was not surprising when Tunku Ismaili’s first action after being confirmed as FAM president on March 25 was to appoint Gomez as national coach.
Gomez was to replace Ong Kim Swee, who had been “downgraded” to coach the national Under -22 squad.
FAM had even posted statements on its official website attributed to Gomez since then, with the “new coach” sharing his thoughts about the national team.
Gomez was also said to have been looking forward to working with the “best local coach in the country” as his assistant, referring to Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
Tan has already officially accepted the appointment by FAM and given notice to the Kedah FA.
Some local football fans have suggested that Tan’s appointment was made to hurt Kedah’s chances of winning the MSL ahead of JDT.
Kedah currently tops the league with JDT in second place.
Tunku Ismail criticised fans for questioning Tan’s appointment.
“I have set a policy of foreign coaches being assisted by the local coaches in the FAM coaching set-ups. Cheng Hoe is the best local coach.
“I’m trying to find the best partnership for the national team but the fans are saying not to take Cheng Hoe. Isn’t picking the best to lead the national team our priority?
“Do you all really love the national team? And do you all really want changes? What do you all actually want?” Tunku Ismail asked on FB.