The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted the eighth edition of the AFC Elite Club Coaches Forum 2023 on Thursday, September 7 providing an opportunity for the Continent’s coaches to hear from some of the most renowned experts ahead of the AFC club competitions kicking off in less than two weeks’ time.
Featuring a star-studded line-up comprising legends such as former Manchester United and current West Ham Head Coach David Moyes and Tottenham Hotspur Manager Ange Postecoglou, the forum was an excellent example of the Confederation’s resolve in working towards ensuring that Asian teams continue to excel on the world stage.
The highly informative workshop kicked off with AFC Technical Director Andy Roxburgh’s opening address following which the two English Premier League coaches shared their insights on subjects such as leadership and management, based on their experience of coaching in leagues across nations and continents.
“In the last couple of decades, football has changed tremendously, and coaches can no longer depend on one style of play. Moreover, in our line of work, there is no magic formula for success and a good coach must know how to deal with setbacks and failure,” said Moyes.
With a major topic of conversation being the ability to adapt, Ange Postecoglou, who has coached across Asia and Europe, brought several interesting observations to the table.
“Adapting to a change in the environment is a two-way street. From my experience coaching in Japan, I knew that the Japanese players would fit in well in my Celtic squad but what I was pleased to note was how the European players too, started adapting their ways around the new Japanese team members,” said Postecoglou, who was the former Head Coach of Yokohama F Marinos.
In the second half of the programme, the attention shifted to the latest developments in the Asian game where the participants received updates on the changes that will be incorporated in the upcoming AFC Champions League™ and AFC Cup™ 2023/24 editions, such as the shift to the Autumn-Spring calendar, and the removal of the away goal advantage.
Additionally, the discussion also touched upon the revamped three-tiered structure comprising the AFC Champions League Elite, the AFC Champions League 2, and AFC Challenge League, along with the pathbreaking AFC Women’s Champions League that are all set to commence in the 2024/25 season.
In the final segment, the coaches revisited the performance of teams in the last edition of the AFC Champions League™ as well as the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup and exchanged notes to help identify trends that have become increasingly common, which include the affinity to build from the back, play a higher pressing game and score from counter attacks.
Furthermore, it was also noted that in the case of leagues in countries such as Australia and Japan, the persistent trends among teams depend heavily on the weather.
“At the highest level, you can’t simply be a coach or a manager—it is leadership that makes a difference. You must be a figure who can be trusted not just by the playing eleven but the entire squad, along with the support staff,” added Roxburgh in his closing address.