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AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 - Laos head coach David Booth have his words

Off the pitch - Interview

David Booth
(c) N. Sridharan

After we had Alfred Riedl, the actual head coach of Indonesia, a few days ago for an interview we will now turn our attention towards David Booth. Since 2010 the 62-year old English is in charge for the Laos national football team.

Booth isn't unknown in Asia as he is around since the mid 90's. He was in charge for Brunei and Myanmar. On the side of club football he coached clubs like Club Valencia from Maldives but also Mumbai FC and Mahindra United in India. In 2006 he had an one year spell in Thailand, leading BEC-Tero to a third place, just three points behind eventual Champ Bangkok University (today Bangkok United, Red.). His biggest achievements in Asia came with the win of the Federation and Super Cup in 2003 in with Mahindra United. Alfred Riedl was his predecessor as Laos coach and both will have to face Thailand in Group A of the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.

thai-fussball.de: David you coached in Thailand already. In 2006 you have been in charge for BEC-Tero for one season and lead them to a 3rd place, just 3 points behind the eventual Champ Bangkok University. How was it for you?
D. Booth: BEC-Tero players were ok, we could have won the league except for interference from inside the club, at a crucial stage of the season and that is why I left.

thai-fussball.de: Teeratep Winothai was one of your strikers in that year. He just came back from Everton in England and 21 years of age. What you thought of him? Did you had a high expectation on him?
D. Booth: Teeratep was a good lad, worked hard and was always striving to get better. I wondered how far he would go. He was very popular off field and maybe it distracted him a little.

thai-fussball.de: I guess you are not alone with that opinion. The 2006 Thai Premier League season also marked the first season for Chonburi FC in Thailands highest tier. Can you remember the club how was your impression? One year later they become the first Thai Champ outside from Bangkok.
D. Booth: Chonburi I remember, as we were loosing at home 1-0 and this was when the interference from within started . With 30 minutes still to play Chonburi were a solid unit and no surprise to see them move forward.

thai-fussball.de: After your spell in Thailand you went off to paradise. You became the head coach of Club Velencia on the Maldives. However you left the club right after 6 months time. I think to coach in Meldives is  everymans dream.
D. Booth: Maybe everymans dream job but a job is a job to do wherever it is. It did not last long as the players went on strike against the Manager saying he did not release payments. Meanwhile I was waiting the players for training in pouring rain. I decided I did not wish to remain in circumstances like this where the players may consider striking against me if they did not like things.

thai-fussball.de: Before you became in charge of Laos, you were the head coach of Mahindra United for the second time in your career. You singed a 3-year deal in 2009. Why suddenly it came to such an end?
D. Booth: The Mahindra Company decided to stop competitive football to concentrate on grass roots. Unfortunately  we had just moved to the top of the I league table when they released this news. From that moment players were all over India joining new clubs. What a mess the company caused. If they had waited and we had won the league maybe they would have had to reconsider so they decided to close before finding out.In the end a lot of hard work for nothing.

thai-fussball.de: AFF Suzuki Cup is ahead of us and now you are in charge for the Laos national team. How does your preparation looks like for the upcoming tournament. How is the actual state of affairs and what will happen during the next weeks until the kick off for your team?
D. Booth: We did well in the qualifiers and played well, our preparation has to step up as the opposition is stronger. We will take a period of preparation in Thailand before moving to the competition. This is a good challenge to see how we can cope with pressure from higher class opposition.

thai-fussball.de: You have Lamnao Singto in your squad. He was playing in Thailand for a few years but couldn't make his breakthrough. How high you rate him and do you think he can find his way back to Thailand?
D. Booth: Hopefully. He is well loved in Laos, however as all players he has to concentrate on the next stage. Only then maybe he can return to Thailand or elsewhere.

thai-fussball.de: Under the reign of your predecessor Alfred Riedl, now coaching Indonesia, the U23 finished 3rd during the 2009 Sea Games. How many players from that squad we will see during the upcoming AFF Cup?
D. Booth: Maybe 8 or 9. Less than 3 months ago I had to recruit a new team, so to win the qualifiers was a major victory for a team where a good number have not played this level before.

thai-fussball.de: Is there any tactical scheme you prefer with Laos? If yes, which one?
D. Booth: Any tactical scheme? Not to concede goals.

thai-fussball.de: Whom you predict to come up first and second in your group?
D. Booth: Not easy to predict, anything can happen. If I can choose the winner maybe it's better I do the UK lottery.

thai-fussball.de: Whom you would rate as favourite to win the title and which place your team will achieve?
D. Booth: The favourite must be Indonesia at home as there is little to choose between the top teams. Our position will depend upon our players ability to play away from Laos, unlike the SEA Games support will be minimal.

thai-fussball.de: From your point of view, who could become the player to watch during the AFF Cup?
D. Booth: Maybe a player from Indonesia as they are the home team.

thai-fussball.de: Which league you would rate as the strongest and best one in ASEAN football?
D. Booth: The V-league although the Thai league is now moving in the right direction now they have backing.

thai-fussball.de: All ASEAN countries do have several foreign players regulations. Malaysia for the past tow years even did not allow foreign players. So what is the best one in your opinion on that?
D. Booth: I think a maximum of 3 to make National league teams work to recruit more local players instead of the easy way of bringing 5/6 foreign players. It will also make clubs more choosy on the quality of foreign player.

thai-fussball.de: You've been around in Asia for such a long time. Are you prefer a home brew English over an Asian beer?
D. Booth: I am a sportsman, alcohol and football do not mix well.

We like to thank David Booth for taking the time and answering our questions. Furthermore we also would like to wish him al the best for the future.

For our interview with Alfred Riedl please check it out here AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 - Alfred Riedl wants to be in the Final
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