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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ten Great Football/Soccer Coaches

In football/soccer, coaches play a crucial role. They do not participate directly but no team can shine without a good coach. And when a football team does well in any tournament the coach gets half the credit. He has to take very important decisions of which 11 players should start the game of when a player should replaced. Here, I have made a list of 10 great football coaches. They are among the influential names in the history of world football.

Enzo Bearzot

This former Italian footballer and great coach is an influential person in the history of Italian football. Italy won the 1982 world cup under his enormous coaching. In his playing career he played for some of the famous clubs in Italian football league including Inter Milan. It is, however, true that he is best known for his coaching career and obviously 1982 world cup victory is the most successful event for his coaching career. Earlier in his coaching career he also coached the Under-23 Italian national team and in the 1974 world cup he was the assistant of the regular coach Ferruccio Valcareggi. Then in the next world cup in 1978 he led the national team as head coach where he could take his team up to the semi-final. The final success came in the next world cup winning the cup after a long 44 years. His greatness will be best understood if pre world cup situation is taken into account. There were a lot of controversy roaming around the Italian national team before the 1982 world cup and bearzot could come up with a fruitful strategy of press silence so that players can totally concentrate on football. It is worthless to say that how much successful the strategy was.

Rinus Michels

Michels is the pioneer of the revolutionary idea of Total Football in the football history. The formation named “Total Football” made the Dutch national team as a football power from 1970’s. This benevolent and creative former coach of Netherlands national team also played for the national team earlier. In his club career he played of the Ajax Amsterdam where he scored 120 goals in his 257 appearances.

He started his coaching career with his former club Ajax Amsterdam and he could help the club to win four national championships and three consecutive European cups. He led Barcelona FC to win the Primera Division in 1974. After that he took the responsibility of the national team. He used to say that football is a war and he obviously contributed much in the development of the football incorporating some modern idea in football. His philosophy of football relating to war made him popular with the nickname of “The General”. In total football, players of a team have no individual place which means when the team goes for attack all the players will go for attack and while the team tries to defend the opponent’s attack all the players become defender. He also introduced some effective way to take the advantage of off side trap.

César Luis Menotti

Menotti is one of the greatest football coaches in the history of football. He is best known for his success in the 1978 world cup winning the first world cup for Argentina. He also played for Argentine national team and in is club career he played for some famous clubs like Boca juniors, Santos etc. As a coach he first showed his talent through winning the Metropolitano in 1973 with Huracan. Then in the 1978 world cup his coaching and magic in team selection made the way easy to win the first world cup for Argentina. The most important thing was that the political situation of the pre world cup time was very critical and sometimes he had to face many problems due to the political reasons. And it was really a challenge to win a world cup in that situation where players were also influenced by those political problems and as Argentina was the host nation it was expected as the best opportunity to write their name in the list of world cup winner. Menotti could prove his ability and make the history.

Vittorio Pozzo

This benevolent figure in the Italian football is best famous for his two consecutive world cup win for Italy under his coaching in 1934 and 1938. His famous Metodo formation worked well and got much popularity in the football. In this system half backs get help from two inside forwards where the formation stands 2-3-2-3. He used this formation in the national team and two world cup victory easily proved the success of this formation. Using this formation makes the defense stronger and creates a huge chance to counter attack.

Gusztáv Sebes

He is the pioneer of the golden time of Hungarian football. He coached the “Magical Magyars” nicknamed Hungary national team in the 1952 world cup where Hungary lost to Germany in the final making one of the greatest upsets in the world cup football history. Hungary emerged in that world cup as a super power in the football world with some of the magical players like Puskas, Kocsis etc. Hungary won the 1952 Olympic Gold medal under his coaching. He followed the WW formation which was first proved successful in that world cup. This formation was the foundation of the popular 3-3-4 and 4-2-4 formation.

Sir Alfred Ernest Ramsey

Sir Ramsey was former footballer and coach for the England national team. He is well known for winning the world cup in 1966 for the first time and till last for England. In the following year he got the prestigious Knighthood of English royal family. In his playing career he was a very effective defender with a good sense of positioning, capability of reading the match well and most importantly he was a very good penalty taker which earned him the nickname of “The General of Penalties”. He used to include young and potential players. After taking the responsibility of English team he claimed to have the supreme authority over the team selection. His strategy of no wing worked well in the world cup. In this system there were no player in the two wing position rather they played as an attacking midfielders and this system could effective enough to deceive the defenders of the opponent teams as they concentrated on two wings while the English attacking midfielders attacked through the middle of the defense. Ramsey got much popularity for this formation.

Aimé Jacquet

Image Link:Aimé Jacquet

This former French football coach and player led France as a coach to win their first world cup in 1998 in their country. Though he played for the famous club Saint-Étienne where he won 5 league titles and 3 French Cups, he is best known for his achievement as a coach. He was assigned as a coach of national team in 1993. Earlier of his coaching career in the national team was much criticized in the media to be regarded as not the right person for the national team. However, he could prove his talent and skill as a coach.

Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo

Image Link: Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo

Zagallo is one of those persons who were successful in both of his playing and coaching career. He won world cup as a player, coach and also an assistant coach which is second to none. He played in the left forward position and this Brazilian could win the world cup twice consecutively in 1958 and 1962. In the 1970 world cup Brazil won the cup under his coaching. And in 1994 he was the assistant coach of Carlos Alberto Paheira where Brazil won their fourth world cup.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

This Brazilian coach is one of the most famous football coaches at the present time. Brazil could win their fifth world cup title under his coaching in 2002. After the world cup he joined to the Portugal national team. He also got successes with Portugal in the Euro 2004 where Portugal became runner up and in the 2006 world cup Portugal could obtain fourth position. “Big Phil” nicknamed this coach always has a fighting mentality which he can push into among the players. He gives much preference to the team spirit and he gives a lot of chances to the off form players which made the player free from pressure. One of his best quotes he said before the 2002 world cup and that is- being the runner up in the tournament means being the best among the looser.

Sir Alex Ferguson

This benevolent coach and former Scottish footballer is regarded as a legendary coach in the English league. He is now the manager of famous English club Manchester United where he has experienced over 1000 matches. In addition, he is the most successful coach in the history of English football. In his playing career he was a defender and could score goals for his clubs regularly but he failed to attract the club to play regularly. After some critical situation he could prove his talent and once made a record transfer fee in between two Scottish clubs while going to Rangers form Dunfermline for £65,000. Later he started professional coaching for East Stirlingshire and after getting some success in this club he joined to the St. Mirren. He came to Manchester United in 1986 where he won 8 FA Premiership league and one European Champions’ league.

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