Malaysian fans could be set for a bumper surprise as former Portugal boss Paulo Bento is being heavily linked with the vacant Harimau Malaysia head coach job.
Since Football Association of Malaysia’s negotiations with ex-JDT coach Mario Gomez fell through, there hasn’t been much updates on the role, though newly-appointed FAM president Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim did confirm that they are negotiating with several candidates, including someone from Portugal.
Two Portuguese names have been floating around actively since then. Firstly, there’s former SC Beira Mar boss, Ulisses Morais – who was reportedly spotted in Johor Bahru recently. But the bigger rumoured candidate appears to be Paulo Bento, who coached Portugal at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
There has been no confirmation from official sources as of now, but Bento’s name is being actively mentioned on football forums and social media platforms.
He spent four years with Sporting CP, before taking on the Portuguese job in 2010, replacing Carlos Quieroz. He led them to the semi-finals of Euro 2012, where they lost to eventual champions Spain on spot-kicks.
But pressure on Bento’s shoulders grew in the build up to the 2014 World Cup as Portugal struggled for form. They eventually underperformed in Brazil, getting knocked out at the group stages itself. As a result, Bento was sacked.
He went on to spend a short stint with Cruzeiro in Brazil, before being appointed as Olympiakos’ head coach in August 2016. But after a string of poor results and performances, Bento was sacked in March 2017.
What do you think about this rumour? Is he the right man for Harimau Malaysia?