Former England manager
Sven-Goran Eriksson was unveiled as technical director of Thai
club BEC Tero Sasana on Monday, the first venture by the Swede
into Asian football in his colourful 35-year coaching career.
Eriksson, 64, will play a hands-on role in overseeing
strategic planning and supporting coaching staff of the twice
Thai champions, who become his latest club after stints in
charge of some of the biggest teams in European football.
The former boss of Lazio, Manchester City and Benfica cast
aside assertions that joining the Thai side represented a fall
from grace after a decorated coaching career that saw him win
more than a dozen major trophies.
"I look forward to this job. I'm happy, otherwise I wouldn't
be here," Eriksson told a packed news conference in Bangkok.
"What other people think is not that important for me anymore."
"The standard [of Thai football] today is much better. There
are many good things. Of course, it will be a nice experience
for me. I'm looking forward to it."
Eriksson is the biggest managerial name to join the Thai
league and the Bangkok-based club, currently fourth in the
league table, will hope he can inspire a return to the days of
back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.
BEC faced new challengers after the Thai league underwent a
massive revamp three years ago following a marketing blitz that
brought in dozens of corporate sponsors and live TV coverage.
That provided revenue for clubs to invest in foreign players and
coaches and upgrade stadiums.
But despite the investment, the Thais still struggles in
regional tournaments when up against opponents from the
heavyweight sides in Japan, South Korea and the Middle East.
Champions Buriram United were the only Thai side to make it
through to the group stages of the Asian Champions League this
year, but finished bottom of their pool.
While the Thai national team has never qualified for the
World Cup and missed out on the Asian Cup finals last year for
the first time since 1988.
Eriksson is no stranger to Thailand having coached two
English sides owned by Thai tycoons, including self-exiled
former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose decision to
dispense with Eriksson as Manchester City boss in 2008 angered
fans and resulted in the club's sale to an Abu Dhabi consortium.
Thaksin younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is currently
prime minister of Thailand, where he owns a beachside home.
In October, Eriksson left English Championship club Leicester City, owned by a Thai consortium led by
duty free monopoly King Power Group, by mutual consent after 13
His contract with BEC will be reviewed at the end of the
"The players are eager to learn from a world-class expert,"
Robert Procureur, the club's general manager, said in a
statement. "I believe that his arrival will draw positive
international attention to the Thai Premier League."
Eriksson's achievements include victories in the UEFA and
Cup Winners' Cups and league and cup doubles in three countries
and he was the first foreigner to manage the England national
team, a job he held for five years.
He has also coached Mexico and most recently, Ivory Coast at
the 2010 World Cup finals.
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