Eriksson, Hiddink: Right men for Thai job

Eriksson, Hiddink: Right men for Thai job

When Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompunmuang said he wanted the new national team coach to be one with World Cup experience, two names sprang to my mind.

One is Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson and the other Dutchman Guus Hiddink.

Eriksson, 69, guided England to two consecutive World Cup quarter-finals in 2002 and 2006.

This should be considered a success although the English media and fans believed the Three Lions should have fared better in both tournaments.

Eriksson is one of the most successful coaches at the club level in European football, having managed and won titles with top clubs of several countries, including Gotenborg, Benfica, Roma and Lazio.

He has won league and Cup titles in Sweden, Portugal and Italy.

He has also won the Uefa Cup (now the Europa League) with Gotenborg and the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup with Lazio.

In 1983, he steered Benfica to the European Cup (now the Champions League) final only to lose 1-0 to AC Milan in the title match.

The Swede is familiar with Thailand, having worked at two Thai-owned English clubs and a Thai team.

He was manager of Manchester City from 2007-2008 when Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai prime minister, was owner of the Premier League club.

Guus Hiddink at Stamford Bridge last year. Photo: Reuters

Following Thaksin's takeover of the team, Eriksson was assigned to take part in a press conference in Bangkok which attracted an army of Thai and foreign journalists.

He was manager of Leicester City in 2011-2012 after King Power boss Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club.

In 2012, he was technical director of Thai club BEC Tero Sasana (now Police Tero) although his appointment was seen as only a publicity stunt.

At the international level, Eriksson has also coached Mexico and managed Ivory Coast at the 2010 World Cup.

The Swede is currently coach of Shenzhen after stints at two other Chinese clubs, Guangzhou R&F and Shanghai SIPG.

With Shenzhen just a club in Chinese League One (second tier), Eriksson may fancy coaching Thailand if approached.

However, his links to Thaksin may be an obstacle for him to work in Thailand.

Hiddink, 70, is more successful than Eriksson at both club and international levels.

At the club level, he has managed teams like PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid.

He guided PSV to six Dutch league titles and the European crown in 1988.

He also won the Intercontinental Cup with Real Madrid in 1998 and the English FA Cup with Chelsea in 2009.

At the international level, he was highly successful with two members of the Asian Football Confederation.

He took South Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup when the Koreans co-hosted the tournament with Japan.

Four years later at the 2006 World Cup, Hiddink's Australia were knocked out by eventual champions Italy in the last-16 round thanks to a controversial penalty seconds before the final whistle.

He also took his country to the 1998 World Cup semi-finals and Russia to the 2008 Euro semi-finals.

Hiddink coached Turkey from 2011-2012 before being sacked.

Hiddink is also considered a crisis management coach, having been interim manager at Chelsea twice.

As Chelsea caretaker boss, he guided the Blues to win the FA Cup in 2009 and took them to safety in the Premier League last year.

The Dutchman is currently unemployed and should be ready to consider offerd from clubs and countries.

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