High-profile club coaches from across Asia including several from the AFC Champions League quarterfinalists gathered in Shanghai on Wednesday, September 5 for the AFC’s Third Elite Club Coaches Forum.
Two-time UEFA Champions League winner Paulo Sousa, now coach of Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian, who face Japan’s Kashima Antlers in the East Zone, was among the attendees.
Also joining the Forum was Choi Kang-hee, manager of another quarterfinalist Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC of South Korea and AFC Coach of the Year 2016 as well as Branko Ivankovic, the highly-experienced Croatian coach of Persepolis FC, from the West Zone who are involved in a tight game against Al Duhail of Qatar.
Winfried Schäfer, the coach of Iran’s other quarterfinalists Esteghlal, who are facing Qatar’s Al Sadd, completed the four attending AFC Champions League representatives.
They were joined by coaches from Australia, Japan and China including Shanghai SIPG coach Vitor Pereira and Shanghai Shenhua’s Wu Jingui.
Other Chinese Super League representatives were Chris Coleman, who led Wales to the semifinals of Euro 2016 and now coaches Hebei China Fortune and Li Xiaopeng of Shandong Luneng Taishan.
AFC Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh, who will lead the two-day event, said, “These Forums are so valuable because it allows the sharing of views and experience from across Asia.”
“For the second year in succession we have coaches from the West and East Zones of the AFC’s flagship Champions League and it showed last year that some of the challenges they face are extremely similar.”
“This Forum is now established as one of the most important for exchanging ideas and opinions in Asian club football. The beauty is that the coaches themselves direct the agenda and direction of discussion.”
“This year we will have the opportunity to consider many elements of the game and also the chance to look in detail at tactical and logistical innovations from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and how it impacts a club coach.”
From the original gathering in 2016 only Kevin Muscat, coach of Melbourne Victory, has been a constant. He said, “Every year we learn of the pressures on individual coaches and how they deal with those pressures. Coaching can often be an isolating job so sharing experiences in this Forum is vital.”
Also in attendance, for the first time, are a group of elite coaches from the Chinese FA including several former national team coaches such as former Manchester City, Crystal Palace and China defender Sun Jihai.