The Nation

New coach Calisto targets Muang Thong title hattrick

Thailand Premier League champions Muang Thong United unveiled former Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto as their new coach.

The 58yearold Portuguese joined Muang Thong, who have won the league title two years in succession, on a twoyear contract with an option to extend. He will reportedly earn around Bt600,000 a month, amounting to the hefty sum of Bt14.4 million should he see out his contract.Coming so soon after Calisto resigned as Vietnam's coach last week, the lucrative deal suggests that money may have been the main reason for the Portuguese's move.However, Calisto, who led Vietnam to triumph in the Asean Championship three years ago, stressed that money had played no part in his decision to take on a job he said would be a "great project"."Muang Thong are a good team. They've won titles from Division Two to the Premier League. So, it's a great project. We shared the same ambition to improve the team. It's not about money at all," said Calisto.The Portuguese explained that he quit his Vietnam job due to lack of sup�port from the Vietnam Football Federation after his charges failed in their Asean title defence with a semifinal loss to eventual champions Malaysia in December."We lost to Malaysia without six lads, all of them were main players of my team."I felt that I didn't get full support from the VFF. That's the true reason for my resignation. It wasn't the pres�sure, as some people said. "After 31 years as a football coach, there's no way I could feel the pressure."Though he witnessed his new charges stunned 30 at the weekend by Army United, who narrowly escaped relegation last season, Calisto remains convinced that Muang Thong, who have only a single point from two matches so far, have the quality to fin�ish top of the table to clinch a hattrick of league titles."Any team can lose. It's a normal thing in football. I believe in the qual�ity of the team. We only have to improve the quality of the play. I'm sure we can come through this and win the title."However, winning at all costs is not Calisto's style: he likes his teams to play attractive football in what he calls a Latin style."I come from the Portuguese school of coaching. I like short passing not long balls. I like creativity, as well, and want my team to have winners' atti�tude."I don't want my team to be pas�sive, only waiting for chances. We must control the game, with or with�out the ball. And we need to give a good spectacle."Football has changed so much since I started as a coach 30 years ago. It's become more like a business, so our game must be a good entertain�ment," said Calisto.After winning league titles with two different coaches in the past two sea�sons, Muang Thong manager Ronnarit Suewaja said the club viewed Calisto's appointment as part of its longterm strategy and saw him as the right man for the job.


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