Running down a potential list of coaching candidates

*Id pretty much finished this last night before Marco’s piece in the paper today came out Tribulietx, although with today being game day I was probably going to delay this Monday. However since this is a big topic today I figured id bring it forward.
FWIW I had Tribulietx on this list even before his name was in the paper today, his record of winning  including what he did in the Club WC+ noted style of play made him an obvious candidate for this list.

Ever since the decision back in November, the biggest decision facing Brisbane going into the off-season is deciding on who will coach the side going forward. It’s a decision that will go a long way to defining the success or otherwise of the off-season, with the majority of the playing group under contract next season limiting the amount of player changes possible.

Today we’ll look at a couple of the candidates that have been mentioned as possibilities, while also throwing a couple of other names into the mix.

Paolo Bento  untitled
This one is more of a hope than an expectation but there were rumours at the time when Mike Mulvey was sacked that there was an unnamed Portuguese coach in the frame and im wondering if it was Bento given he was sacked around the same time.

Bento for those unaware was the Portuguese coach at last years World Cup and was ultimately let go after a poor start to Euro 2016 qualifying; however the Group Stage exit in Brazil probably didn’t do him any favours.

It’s not his stint with the Portuguese team that makes him an interesting candidate however, it’s his work previously with Sporting Lisbon where he coached for four years that makes him compelling.

Bento got the job at Sporting, barely a year out of the game and with only minimal youth team coaching experience under his belt, leading the team to a resurgence which saw them qualify for the Champions League.

While he didn’t win any silverware during his time at Sporting, he did lead the side to regular European Football,  overseeing the development of some of Portugal’s best youngsters of recent times.

The likes of Nani, Ricardo, Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso were all developed under the Bento regime and all ultimately sold off for massive profits. Given Brisbane’s apparent youth movement over the next 12-18 months or so, a coach who has the experience of developing players at that level would no doubt be appealing.

The question regarding Bento is a rather simple one- could they convince him to move down here to Australia? It would seem unlikely given his resume, however since departing the Portugal set-up in September, Bento remains a free agent so there may be a window of opportunity there.

It’s probably an extreme long shot, but someone with the experience and resume of Bento would be an amazing choice, if he is indeed an option.

Ramon Tribulietx O-League Champions League, Auckland City FC v Hekari United
Tribulietx is perhaps an unknown to a lot of people, but the little known Spaniard has done a good job with Auckland City since he took over in 2010. In that time Auckland City have won the New Zealand Premiership three times and the Championship twice, in addition to four successive OFC Champions League campaigns.

The moment when Tribulietx became a known name however was at last years FIFA Club World Cup. That campaign could of ended before it started if it wasn’t for a penalty shootout win over Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan who qualified as the host nation representative, but they got through and end beat ES Setif in the quarter finals.

That then set Auckland up for a clash with a South American champions San Lorenzo, and the part timers took the Argentina outfit to extra time before bowing out. They then however bounced back to win the 3rd placed playoff against Cruz Azul, making them the most successful Oceanian side in the history of the Club World Cup.

With that much silverware behind him, there’s no doubt that Tribulietx has the ability to win matches at a consistent rate, something which has rightly or wrongly become expected these days in Brisbane. The two major questions regarding Tribulietx are the way he likes his team to play, and can he handle players at a higher level.

In regards to the second question it’s tough to judge without seeing him in the job or watching him closely, but we can get some kind of insight into his view on football from a story on Fifa.com back in December last year where he went into detail about his philosophy on the game.

In the piece, Tribulietx tells a story of how he converted Auckland from a direct style of play to a possession style, by working with his goalkeeper to play the ball out of defence. There are a few good quotes from the Spaniard in the story id like to link here for you that outline his philosophy on the game.

“I believe in this style of play. It’s what I was brought up with and have preached all my life, said the Spanish footballing missionary. “We’ve been working for years to show people that we can keep possession of the ball, even if we are a team from New Zealand.” “Structurally, we’re very strong,” explained the Barcelona-born tactician.

“We’re very aggressive in defence and then, when we’re on the ball, we have a very clear idea of what we want to do with it. “I don’t show videos of anyone else,” he explained. “I show videos of us. I take our videos, I edit them and I show them to the players. If I’d gone to New Zealand and used videos of Barça or another Spanish team, I might have got off on the wrong foot and come across the wrong way.

“I prefer to demonstrate things my way, on the training ground and on video. Slowly but surely they started believing in it.”

Those quotes suggest that Tribulietx is almost the exact type of coach that Football Director Ken Stead and the rest of the board were looking for when they set out on this search.

Here’s the link to the full feature up on the Fifa website, I suggest you go read it, even if he doesn’t end up becoming the Roar coach.

If you think back to the Mulvey sacking press conference and the recent fan forum recap I posted, one of the things that was routinely mentioned as a reason for the change was breakdown in the way the team prepares and trains. The above would seemingly fit into what they’re looking for, while the style of play is also very similar.

Tribulietx may not be the biggest name in the world, but he’s a winner, and he’s a winner playing football in a very similar way to which Brisbane has been successful.

Michael Oenning 261925-35c5ca84-d838-11e4-91d8-f0bc1d307f16
Another coach who was linked in the papers a month or so ago was German Michael Oenning, who has been out of coaching since 2011 when he left Hamburg. Since then he has been working as a television pundit over in Germany.

Oenning’s record of clubs is rather impressive given he’s worked with Hamburg, Nuremberg, Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg and the German youth teams in the past, however he hasn’t been a coach in four years now, and one of the things I personally would like in a new coach is someone who hasn’t been out of the game for a long time.

In his first head coaching role he took a Nuremburg side which had just been relegated to the 2.0 Bundesliga and led them to a 3rd placed finish and ultimately a return to the top tier through a playoff against Energie Cottbus.

Things didn’t go so well in the Bundesliga however for Oenning and Nuremburg, and with 11 losses from 17 games, he was shown the door with Nuremburg in the relegation places at the winter break. All up Oenning managed 21 wins from 54 games in charge, with a winning rate of 38%.

His time with Hamburg was less of a success, with an 8th placed finish in 2010-11 after taking over in March. That decent start however ran out fast, and after five losses and a draw in the opening six rounds of the next season, Oenning was shown the door with record of 2 wins in 15 games or a win % of 13.

All of that comes up as just a 33% win rate over the course of his career, which isn’t going to get it done in any competition. It would seem to suggest that while Oenning did some good work in the German 2nd division, he wasn’t cut out to manage at the top level in that country, which may not make him an ideal candidate here.

The one thing that makes Oenning an interesting candidate is the relationship he has with Thomas Broich, with the two working together at Nuremberg for 14 months. While the connection which Broich is a bonus, his record doesn’t scream success, and if push came to shove there are better candidates out there than the German.

Aurelio Vidmar/Ante Milicic
Ange Postecoglou’s assistants have both been linked to the job, however there have been media reports that both have turned the job down in order to remain apart of the National Team set-up and continue to develop.

Of the two, Ante Milicic is considered to be the better prospect moving forward, however Vidmar has the experience of being a head coach previously including leading Adelaide to the Asian Champions League and A-League Grand Final in a matter of months.

With both Vidmar and Milicic seemingly rejecting the opportunity to take up the role, the chances of the new coach being Australian looks to be a long shot. Of the two, id of preferred Milicic given his previous Roar ties and the fact he was highly thought of at both Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Others
No doubt there will be others in the frame from overseas, but it’s near impossible to guess or predict which ones would be interested in coming to Brisbane.

The other Australians who could be in the frame may include Sydney United coach and Fox Sports Analyst Mark Rudan, who has long been touted as a future A-League coach, Australian u-20 mentor Paul Okon and former Sydney FC and Adelaide United coach John Kosmina. None of those are overly appealing, with Rudan the pick of the trio.

Of those listed above, my preference would be for Bento purely due to his European experience and his track record of taking youth team products and makings stars of them, but Tribulietx would seem to be a strong candidate with his style of play and results seemingly what Brisbane are looking for.

Either of those would be a fine choice. Regardless, this decision looms as the biggest of the off-season for the Roar, with the short and long term prospects for the team resting on the decision they make.

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