Southeast Asia Indonesia

Welcome Back to the Pesut Etam, Mario Gomez!

It didn’t took long for Liga 1 Indonesia side Borneo FC to find their new head coach. Filling in the vacancy at Pesut Etam is a familiar figure – former Johor Darul Ta’zim, Persib Bandung, and Arema FC head coach Roberto Carlos Mario Gomez. Gomez makes his return to Samarinda having taken charge of Borneo in the 2019 Liga 1 season and he is set to lead the Pesut Etam for his second stint once the 2020 season restarts on October.

Despite earlier reports suggesting that Borneo had parted ways with their previous head coach Edson Tavares quite amicably, it was later revealed by Borneo club president Nabil Husein Said Amin that the former Yokohama FC and Persija Jakarta head coach was sacked due to his poor attitude towards the club. The Pesut Etam wasted no time in finding Edson’s replacement and they’ve managed to rope in Gomez for a second stint with the Samarinda-based club.

Gomez’s previous tenure with Borneo was quite a remarkable one. The Argentinian managed to turn the Pesut Etam into genuine title contenders and they spent most of the 2019 Liga 1 season tailing behind eventual champions Bali United in 2nd place. A loss of form at the closing stages of the season meant that Borneo finished the 2019 season in 7th place, before Gomez decided to leave Samarinda for Arema in Malang. However, with Gomez returning to Samarinda for the 2020 season, optimism ran high within the Borneo camp as they hope for a repeat of 2019’s performances in Gomez’s second stint.

“Nabil is delighted with being able to work together with Gomez once again, as he knows all too well about Gomez’s quality and his ability in bringing out the best from his team,” said Borneo spokesperson Brili Sanjaya to detikSport on Friday, “We hope that the return of the man who had taken Borneo as high to 2nd place last season will bring more achievements to the club.”

Gomez had previously left Arema due to refusing a pay cut brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and some were quick to point out that Gomez’s decision to rejoin Borneo was financially-motivated. However, Gomez spoke to both Antara and Bolasport on Sunday and refuted those claims, stating that the decision to rejoin Borneo was made due to the club’s excellent preparation and their superb communication with him after Gomez had left Arema.

“It’s not only about contracts and money, but the most important reason for me is how well the club have prepared themselves in terms of communications and relations,” Gomez said.

Another factor that made Gomez’s return to Borneo a foregone conclusion is his close relationship with Borneo club president Nabil. The two had built up a friendly working relationship during Gomez’s first stint and it was that close relationship that Gomez had with both Nabil and the Borneo management that enabled his return to the Pesut Etam to come into reality.

“I have a close relationship with Nabil, the Borneo management, and everyone here,” Gomez said, “Last season we worked together very well, everyone was together like a family. As long as we are together as one big family, that’s what matters the most.”

Gomez’s return to Borneo was greeted with delight by the Pesut Etam‘s players. Winger Muhammad Sihran was one such player, expressing his excitement at Gomez’s return on Borneo’s official website.

“Praise be to Allah, I’m delighted that Coach Gomez has returned to the team as he’s an excellent head coach,” Sihran said, “I admire his coaching style. Anyone who works hard enough during training is assured of game-time from Coach Gomez. Even if you’re a young player, as long as you work hard during training, you’re assured to be played by Coach Gomez.”

As with other Liga 1 clubs, Borneo are set to resume their season on October 1st. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Pesut Etam are unable to use their usual home ground of Segiri Stadium in Samarinda, with the league’s continuation being centered on the island of Java to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Borneo have opted to ground-share with PS Sleman at the Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman for the rest of the 2020 season.

Prior to the COVID-19 suspension, Borneo were flying high in the league, winning twice and losing once after three matches as they sat 3rd on the table.