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Antonio Mohamed steps down as Pumas coach

Assistant Gustavo Lema will become Pumas’ new head coach.

Pumas UNAM v Tigres UANL - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas UNAM have announced that head coach Antonio Mohamed has stepped down from his role. Two days after ending their season in the Apertura 2023 semifinals, a press conference was held where Mohamed announced he ended his tenure due to personal reasons. The club then announced that Gustavo Lema, who was Mohamed’s top assistant, would become head coach in what is his first experience and as a way to continue with the “process.” Mohamed only assumed his role in the Clausura 2023, where he almost got a team with a very poor record into the Liguilla. He then bounced back with a great season where Pumas finished 4th and made it to the semis before losing to defending champs Tigres.

It has to be said that most of Pumas’ fans and the team itself were shocked with Mohamed’s decision. Mohamed himself said he hadn’t said farewell after the match with the team and that eventually he would see the players again. There are rumors abound that he was possibly leaving for another job, with places like Boca Juniors and Monterrey being mentioned, but he said it was a mental break and he promised to not coach a team in Mexico for the upcoming Clausura 2024. While Mohamed has been a successful coach, he’s also been famous for being unstable and constantly changing clubs, the most famous situation when he left Club América immediately after winning a Liga MX title. He’s had 4 spells at Club Huracan in Argentina and 2 spells in Monterrey. He’s also coached in four countries (Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and Brazil) in his twenty year career as coach and has now stepped down once again.

Pumas will continue the project Mohamed started with Gustavo Lema getting his first opportunity as head coach. They’re no stranger to this as in the Clausura 2020, coach Michel Gonzalez stepped down and Andres Lillini took over in his first opportunity as a senior club coach as well. Lillini would end up taking Pumas to the final and overall had a successful spell in charge. The Clausura 2024 starts on January 12, 2024 and Lema will thus be able to coach the team through the short preseason as well as influence any player signings that the club could make.