Sunday, March 07, 2010

Calisto the big winner despite Vietnam's failure

Failing to qualify for the Asian Cup has not done Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto any harm at all...not only has he signed a new contract but, according to press reports in Hanoi, he has almost doubled his salary. Not bad work if you can get it!

Of course, too many countries are too quick to pull the trigger on their coaches, but the question has to be asked if Calisto deserves to be so extravagantly rewarded after a campaign that has ended in failure. By all means keep him on if you think he's the right man for the job, but increasing his salary so significantly hardly sounds like a sensible use of resources.

Remember, Vietnam have failed to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup despite reaching the quarterfinals of the 2007 edition under former coach Alfred Riedl. That hardly represents progress, even if the country did win their first ever ASEAN Championship in 2008.

If the Vietnamese are serious about improving then they should have made a better fist of trying to qualify for the Asian Cup in a group that featured China, Syria and Lebanon. There's no denying it was a challenge for the South East Asian champions but these are the nations they need to be taking points off if they are serious about being successful beyond their own backyard...but one win - against Lebanon in Hanoi - was all they could muster.

The next few months are going to be interesting for the various South East Asian national teams, with several forced to make decisions over the fate of their coaches.

Benny Dollo has already decided to step down from his position in Indonesia, although his dismal record since taking over means he will hardly be missed. K Rajagopal will no doubt remain in charge of the Malaysian team by virtue of winning the gold medal at the SEA Games while Raddy Avramovic has already extended his contract in Singapore.

Questions, meanwhile, will no doubt be asked about the future of Bryan Robson in Thailand.

Robson had the unenviable task of taking over from Peter Reid midway through the qualifying campaign for the Asian Cup and, despite a good start against Singapore, he was unable to take his team through to the finals.

After Thailand also failed to win the gold medal at the SEA Games, the pressure will be mounting on the Football Association of Thailand to take action, and with the press - particularly SiamSport - holding significant influence (many would say a disproportionate amount), it's not beyond the realms of possibility that the FAT will be forced into making changes in the national set up. Whether that extends as far as Robson remains to be seen, and it may prove too expensive for the FAT to fire the former England international.

WIth the ASEAN Championship being held in Indonesia and Vietnam in December, those nations planning to make changes to their coaching set ups will be keen to do so soon.

Indeed, 2010 is certain to see a large number of coaching changes across the Asian game.

Takeshi Okada has already said he will stand down as Japan coach after the World Cup while Pim Verbeek is expected to make an announcement on his future with the Socceroos next week. It's unlikely Huh Jung-moo will remain with South Korea post-South Africa 2010 while it's anyone's guess what the North Koreans will do before - never mind after - the World Cup.

Anyone fancy a job in Pyongyang?

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