Thursday, March 17, 2011

Calisto: Trust Rady

Former Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto, in an interview with TNP,  has no doubts about the quality of Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic.

The 57-year-old Portuguese, who is now in charge of Thai champions Muangthong United, told The New Paper that the 61-year-old Serb is the best man to lead the Lions.

'In Vietnam, and in Singapore, a lot of people's mentality is that if you don't win, the coach is dead,' said Calisto.

'In a tournament, only one team wins. So does that mean that the other coaches are all stupid?'

Calisto pointed to Singapore's Suzuki Cup record of going 21 games unbeaten (19 under Avramovic) from 2002 to 2008 as a sign of the Serb's quality.

'Raddy is a good coach. Before him, Singapore were nothing,' said Calisto. 'Raddy did a very good job in building a team. He gave them spirit.

'He coached the Singapore team for a very long time in the Suzuki Cup without defeat. This is a very good record.

'You think Raddy lost his quality (after the recent Suzuki Cup)?

'No, my friend. In football, you don't lose your capacity to read the game so quickly. Raddy is not old or senile.'

Reflecting on his own experience after last year's Suzuki Cup, Calisto said he faced similar criticism to Raddy's.

The only difference was that he did not have the backing of the Vietnam Football Federation, unlike Avramovic who continues to be supported by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

'After we lost the semi-final to Malaysia, the media complained, a lot of times unfairly,' said Calisto.

'They said we lost because of my mistakes - my preparations were wrong, my tactics were wrong and my methods were wrong.

'I didn't feel I had the support of the federation. They did nothing.

'I coached for 10 years in Vietnam, but I didn't feel happy any more. So I took this invitation (from Muangthong) and I quit. We coaches need respect.'

Calisto, however, disagreed with FAS president Zainudin Nordin's decision to disband the national team in the wake of the Suzuki Cup debacle.

Zainudin said in January that focus would be placed on blooding young talent for the national team.

When asked his opinion on that, Calisto shook his head, saying: 'No. We cannot do that. You have heritage - you're three-time Suzuki Cup champions!

'You need the older players to pass the heritage on to the younger players.

'If you cut (this link), you cut everything. You lose everything.

'You can change, but do it slowly and step by step.

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