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Right decision, says Houghton
- Past and present coaches in india on lippiís startling move

Marcello Lippiís resignation as Italy coach evoked mixed reactions from the Indian football fraternity. The following are excerpts of what the coaches, past and present, had to say:

MAURICE AFONSO (assistant national coach): It is quite a surprising decision. Maybe he has got an offer from one of the bigger clubs in Italy, Spain or England. It is also possible that he wanted to stay away from the match-fixing controversy. He is simply a great coach. After all, no one expected Italy to reach the final, leave alone winning the Cup. Lippi must have injected a lot of confidence into his boys.

Rating: 9/10

 

P.K. BANERJEE (former India coach): Itís difficult to comment on the decision because it must have been a very personal one. But he has done a great job and got his due. He shouldnít have any regrets. He was eager to prove himself and went about his task confidently and silently. A man of few words, he didnít have to be burdened with constant media glare. That he achieved the ultimate result proved his genius. He brought speed and attacking flair to the side. You have to give all the credit to Lippi.

Rating: 8/10

 

BISWAJIT BHATTACHARJEE (Mohun Bagan coach): I think heís going out at the right time. Moving out when at the top is the ideal way to protect oneís dignity. Heís already 58 and must have thought it was high time to bid goodbye. Itís his decision and must have been a well thought-out one. The way he transformed this Italian side into a winning combination speaks volumes of his strategical prowess. The Italians were not impressive at the start. No one showed much faith. But they proved the pundits wrong with their attacking display and improved with every game.

Rating: I donít think Iím qualified enough to rate Lippi

 

ARMANDO COLACO (Dempo coach): Lippiís decision to quit was wrong. He is the coach of a winning side and a winner should always continue. Perhaps he wanted to stay away from the controversy that has engulfed Italian football for the past few months. All that is said about Lippiís defensive and attacking style of play is wrong. He is a simple coach who tells his players to believe in themselves. Thatís the way he motivates his players.

Rating: 10/10

 

BOB HOUGHTON (national coach): It was definitely the right time to resign. It is pointless to continue after winning the World Cup because the coach is not left with any other target. As a coach, I like his style. He is sensible and knows his job. He knew the teamís requirements and acted accordingly. He is technically strong. He handled the team well and helped them realise the ultimate dream.

Rating: 9/10

 

SAVIO MEDEIRA (assistant national coach and Salgaocar coach): It is difficult to say whether it was a good or a bad decision. He must have had his own reasons for this decision. Perhaps he wanted to be remembered as the coach who brought the World Cup back to Italy after 24 years. As a coach he is tactically very strong. He has proved that Italy can be world beaters. The best thing is that in winning the Cup, Lippi has not compromised with the entertainment part of the game. His style was highly interesting, the team being both defensive and attacking.

Rating: 9/10

 

HENRY MENEZES (Mahindra United manager and former India goalkeeper): What a brilliant way to go out. However, it is probably wrong to say that he took this decision because he wanted quit while on top. Lippi is a man who loves challenges. Now he will look out for a different adventure. It is a great loss for Italian football. All I can say is that it is a job well done. As a coach, he showed a tremendous sense of responsibility. A disciplinarian, his policy to blend defensive tactics with attacking style paid dividends. He has given a new dimension to coaching.

Rating: 9/10

 

ALOKE MUKHERJEE (former India assistant coach): I think he has got a lucrative offer from a club or a national side which has forced him to leave the Italy job. Even Scolari had quit as coach after Brazil emerged champions in 2002. Lippi must be a happy and satisfied man after almost singlehandedly guiding Italy to the title. Italy wouldnít have been champions had Lippi not transformed this ordinary bunch of players into an unbeatable outfit. He had the charisma as well as tactical and mental awareness to bring about this turnaround. Lippi has to share the bulk of the credit.

Rating: 9/10

 

SYED NAYEEMUDDIN (former India coach): Lippiís record speaks for himself ' five Serie A titles, besides the Champions League and the World Cup. The way he transformed the Italian squad into a winning combination was amazing. He brought an attacking flair into the team and made the players believe that defence was as important as offence. Players were given no fixed roles and they proved to be as efficient in attack as in defence. He should have stayed on. No doubt, Italy will miss him.

Rating: 10/10

 

DERRICK PEREIRA (Mahindra United coach): A shocking decision. Certainly not a good thing for Italian football. Under Lippi, Italy were going in the right direction. As a coach, Lippi has shown his class. His tactics worked well. Each player gave his best under him. If his defensive tactics were good, his sharpness in counterattacks was terrific.

Rating: 8/10

 

HARISH RAO (former Mahindra United and Maharashtra coach): Lippi has taken a decision too early. He should have waited. But then, there are people who love to go out while at the top. Lippi is a good coach. I specially liked his handling of a star like Totti. Lippi played him, dropped him and then brought him back again at a crucial juncture. He is so cool. When everyone else rushed to the ground after the victory, he turned to pick up his jacket first.

Rating: 8/10

 

SUKHWINDER SINGH (former national coach): A correct decision on Lippiís part. It is always better to go when on top. As a coach, he has done a great job. He did not have too many stars in the team. The few he had were not in good form. He made all these players into top stars. Italy scored 12 goals in the World Cup and 10 different players scored the goals. Lippi showed that the victory was a result of team game.

Rating: 8/10

 

PARMINDER SINGH (JCT coach): Lippi should not have resigned at this juncture. After all, he is the coach of the winning team and there was no pressure on him. As coach, his capabilities are beyond question. I didnít find much weak points in his coaching. I liked his style of counter-attacks and defensive organisation. He also kept the team united.

Rating: 9/10

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