Incredible scenes at Thai Premier League Champion’s Muangthong United as new coach Carlos Roberto Carvalho was removed from his post yesterday before their Thai Premier League season has even started.
Carvalho, who was only appointed last month, will be replaced by club owner Robert Procureur, pictured in black shirt. It is the second time in consecutive months that the Thai Premier League champion’s have parted ways with a head coach. Rene Deseyaere was sacked in January despite having just been named Head Coach of the year after leading the team to the TPL title, the Thai FA Cup Final and the AFC Cup semi final.
There are certainly some strange goings on at Muangthong and fans will be entitled to wonder what sort of shape their side is in going into their first TPL fixture of the season away to Bangkok Glass on Saturday. Carvalho’s crime was to lose to Chonburi in the King’s Trophy and to get knocked out of the AFC Champions League after losing a play-off match against Indonesian Champion’s Sriwijaya on penalties.
Carvalho is being retained as a Technical Director meaning that the club’s owner, Procuruer, finds himself temporarily in charge of team affairs for the second successive month. There cannot be many instances in the history of football when a team’s head coach has been removed from his role after just two matches and the Brazilian, pictured wearing a baseball cap, can consider himself unlucky.
Muangthong have won the TPL for two consecutive seasons but are going through a period of massive transition at present. This pre season saw 15 players leave the Thunderdome including Thai internationals Ronnachai Rangsiyo and Teeratep Winothai and top foreign player Mohamed Koné who averaged a goal every other game in the TPL winning campaign.
There have been a number of new signings, most notably former Fulham defenders Zesh Rehman and Tony Kallio and prolific goal poacher Anon Sangsanoi but it would be difficult for even the most optimistic of Muangthong fans to argue that they will be starting the new season in better shape than they finished the last one.
Procureur is only in temporary charge and a full time replacement for Carvalho is likely to be appointed within a couple of weeks Former Thai national team manager Peter Withe has been linked with the job, although insiders say that a move for the Englishman is unlikely to materialize and Henrique Calisto, who currently manages the Vietnam national team, is seen as the favourite.
Many fans felt that Carvalho, who had previously been in charge of Bangkok Glass, was not the right man for the job and will be pleased that the club have acted so quickly. The sacking of Desayaere remains more of a mystery and, unsurprisingly given how successful he was at Muangthong, he is already back in work with Division One side Chang Mai.
Muangthong United’s first TPL game of the season is against Bangkok Glass at the Leo Stadium on Saturday, 6pm KO. Tickets are still available and the game will be being broadcast live on True Sport 2.