Calisto resigns citing loss of enthusiasm

TN News

Email Print

Henrique Calisto, the head coach of Vietnam's national football team, resigned on Wednesday, after announcing that his enthusiasm for his job has run dry.

During a press conference in Hanoi, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) officially announced the termination of his contract, which was renewed last year.

Calisto, 58, said he had wanted to terminate his contract since his team was knocked out of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup, last year.

The Portuguese coach's 11 years in Vietnam consumed a full third of the 33 years of married life.

He came to Vietnam in 2001 to coach V-League club Dong Tam Long An (DTLA). In 2002, he helped Vietnam finish third at the Tiger Cup (now called the AFF Cup). In 2005 and 2006, he helped DTLA win two V-League championships.

His ability to bear pressure was proven, he said, after he failed at the 2008 Ho Chi Minh City Cup before earning Vietnam the AFF Cup later that year.

Calisto said he and VFF officials had disagreed, at times, but those differences were usually settled amicably.

That changed, he said, when VFF Vice Chairman Le Hung Dung told the press that Calisto would be fired if he couldn't help Vietnam win the AFF cup.

Calisto said he'd also come to feel a palpable lack of respect from the Vietnamese press.

"Nothing is as bad as seeing newspapers full of articles criticizing me every morning I get up," he said. "They said I was the main cause of Vietnam's failure at the 2010 AFF Cup. Remember that Vietnam is now on top of Southeast Asia, which has never happened before. And I've made a lot of contributions to that achievement."

Calisto dispelled claims that he was leaving Vietnam because he wanted more money.

"Some newspapers said I am leavi9 because of money," he said. If it was because of money, I would have gone years ago," Calisto said. "I was offered several more attractive invitations from Kuwait, U.A.E and three clubs in China, with a salary much higher than my salary with VFF, but I refused them all."

Calisto said some Vietnamese clubs have invited him to work for them with a much higher salary than he got from VFF but he turned them all down.

He said that he had wanted to leave after Vietnam was dethroned in the final by Malaysia at the 2010 AFF Cup but he didn't want to set a precedent in Vietnam that a coach would resign right after a failure.

When asked if he felt selfish for placing VFF in a hard situation, because it is not easy to find another coach on such short notice, Calisto answered that it would be more selfish for him to remain in a job he was unmotivated to do.

He said he would be selfish if he would continue to work and wait for VFF to fire him and pay him a two-month severance. Due to his early departure, Calisto will be required to pay VFF two-month salary.

VFF's General Secretary Tran Quoc Tuan said VFF's final meeting with Calisto was peaceful and the Vietnamese football governing body thanked the Portuguese coach for his huge contributions to Vietnamese football.

Tuan also said VFF is making a list of domestic and foreign coaches to fill the vacancy.

They anticipate the position will be filled by June.

More Sports News