(Reuters) - Tijuana’s joy at upsetting former champions Palmeiras in the Libertadores Cup on Tuesday has been tempered by the news that coach Antonio Mohamed intends to quit the Mexican club after their participation in the competition is over.
Tijuana, punching well above their weight in South America’s elite club competition, advanced to the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate after being held 0-0 in the first leg at the Caliente.
“I‘m going to fulfil my contract and when we end our participation in the cup I‘m going to end my time in Tijuana because I miss my family,” the Argentine said.
“I’ve already spoken to the players, they already know ... my children are small, I need to be with my family,” Mohamed, whose family live in Buenos Aires, told a news conference.
“Now what mostly occupies me is my team, that they should have the intensity and dream to make history. Many expected us to be knocked out ... so don’t lose faith in the Xolos.”
Mohamed joined the club, founded in the northwestern border town six years ago, in September 2011 and steered them to their first league title in the Apertura championship in December.
Tijuana made a good start to the Clausura, the second of the two championships in the Mexican season, but their domestic form suffered due to their efforts in the Libertadores and they failed to reach the eight-team Clausura title knockout rounds.
Things will not get any easier for the Mexican underdogs in the Libertadores. Their victory over Palmeiras set up a showdown against Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro, who are firm favourites to win the title for the first time.
Reporting by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by Peter Rutherford;