Panama City: Hernan Dario “Bolillo” Gomez, who helped Panama to book its first-ever World Cup berth, has stepped down as the national football team’s head coach. The Colombian announced his decision in a letter published on Tuesday by the Panamanian football federation (Fepafut), reports Efe. “This is nothing more than a ‘see you later,'” Gomez wrote. “Sometimes it’s tough to move from where your heart is, and that’s how I feel about my Panama squad,” he added, without indicating if he would serve as manager of another national team.
A former head coach of the national squads of Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala, Gomez said he was grateful for all the expressions of friendship and said his stay in Panama was wonderful. “Thank you for your love and friendship. These years have been magnificent in my life … You can count on Bolillo, just another member of (Panama’s) first World Cup team. Thanks to the Fepafut executives, to the players and Panamanian football,” Gomez said.
In his farewell letter, he also said Panama’s national team had a bright future and would be able to “keep making history in football.” Gomez’s first game as head coach of Panama was a 1-1 draw against Serbia in Chicago in 2014.
His last was a 2-1 loss to Tunisia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Panama lost all three games in a difficult Group G that included Belgium and England (which finished third and fourth, respectively), scored only two goals and allowed 11. With those numbers, it finished last out of 32 teams at this year’s edition of football’s premier event. On the other hand, Ecuadorian media said that “Bolillo” Gomez will be introduced on August 1 as the next head coach of Ecuador’s national team.