PETALING JAYA: To be an understudy to renowned football coach Marcelo Bielsa is certainly a privilege.
His methods have influenced many high-profile managers in the world.
Among them are Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, former Chile and Argentina handler Jorge Sampaoli, ex-Tottenham and Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone.
And Johor Darul Ta’zim have roped in one of El Loco’s (The Crazy One) students, Hector Bidoglio, to replace Benjamin Mora, who left due to personal reasons.
In a statement announcing Bidoglio’s arrival, the club said the former Venezuelan international will take over immediately.
In JDT’s last three games, they were handled by assistant coach Hamzani Omar and fitness coach Jorge Alvarez.
“Hector rose through the ranks as a coach with Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys. He has previously coached in the top divisions in Argentina, Peru and Ecuador,” said the statement.
“The 54-year-old had several attachments with Spanish clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Real Betis. He also took tutelage under the renowned Marcelo Bielsa with the Chile national team in 2009.”
Some of the top South American clubs he has coached include Peru’s Universidad San Martin and Ecuador’s Sociedad Deportiva Aucas. He was also with Argentinian club Colon from 2016 to 2017.
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Bidoglio has roots in Venezuela, which allowed him to represent the country during his playing days as a midfielder.
Since Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim took over the club in 2012, they have appointed seven coaches – Fandi Ahmad, Cesar Jimenez, Bojan Hodak, Mario Gomez, Ulisses Morais, Luciano Figueroa and Mora.
Bidoglio will take over a team full of confidence after JDT thrashed Sarawak United 4-0 at the State Stadium in Kuching on Wednesday.
Ahmad Hazwan Bakri scored for the second consecutive game when he found the net in the 13th minute. Super League top scorer Bergson Da Silva notched his 14th goal in the 20th minute.
In the second-half, substitutes Syahmi Safari and Fernando Forestieri piled on the misery for the Golden Hornbills in the 79th and 90th minute respectively.
Alvarez was happy that the reserves stepped up to the plate.
“Some players who started are not regulars but they showed great character. They followed instructions well and were focused on scoring and creating an open game,” said the Costa Rican.
“Adam (Nor Azlin), Ramadhan (Saifullah) and Syahmi (Safari) are usually not starters but against Sarawak, the quality they showed was good. (Nathaniel) Hong Wan is young and always learning so we have great depth in the squad.
“Hazwan’s performances have been fantastic, I’m happy for him.”
JDT remain top with 32 points from 12 matches while Sarawak dropped one rung to 11th with 10 points from 13 games.