Coach Education

Rafa Benitez praises impact of fourth AFC Elite Coaches Forum

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Rafa Benitez - AFC Elite Coaches Forum 2019 - 1

Shanghai: Former Newcastle United manager, Rafael Benitez, who replaced Korea Republic’s Choi Kang-hee as head coach of Dalian Yifang in July this year, has hailed the impact of the Fourth AFC Elite Club Coaches Forum which concluded in Shanghai last week. 

The experienced tactician, who was a prominent and regular contributor at the annual UEFA Elite Club Coaches’ Forum in recent years – was impressed from his first experience at Asia’s equivalent platform, commending the in-depth discussions and the opportunity in obtaining valuable insights on Asian football.

“The Asian Champions League is evaluated by each coach from the perspective of their respective countries and I have to say that it has been very interesting for me comparing with the experience in Europe,” said the former Liverpool manager, whose long list of accolades include clinching the UEFA Champions League winners medal with the Reds in 2005 as well as two Spanish La Liga titles with Valencia in 2002 and 2004.

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Benitez added on “In that sense, the opportunity to come to this Forum and listen to all these great and experienced coaches in Asia’s premier club competition has been an enlightening experience for me.”

Benitez was among a plethora of high-profile coaches at the Forum which included 2015 AFC Asian Cup winning coach Ange Postecoglou from Australia, Ah Ahli’s Branko Ivankovic who led Islamic Republic of Iran’s Persepolis to the 2018 AFC Champions League final, as well as guest participant Gerard Houllier, another former Liverpool head coach.

"All in all, this Elite Asian Coaches Forum in Shanghai has helped me get to know and understand, in a better way, the Asian football structure. I am convinced that for the rest of the coaches this information exchange has also been useful in order to improve their future teams’ performance,” concluded Benitez.

“For all directors and coaches, this forum will be extremely useful to improve the organisation and preparations for the upcoming Asian competitions.”

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