Conte lands top coaching award

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte has won the Golden Bench award after being recognised as the Serie A coach of the 2011-12 season.

Antonio Conte, Juventus

The 43-year-old steered the Turin giants through an entire league season unbeaten - barring a Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli - to earn Juve their first official Scudetto in nine years after he replaced Luigi Del Neri in May 2011.

Conte, however, started the current campaign with a 10-month suspension for his alleged failure to reported attempted match-fixing while in charge of Siena, but he returned to the bench in December after the punishment was reduced by six months on appeal.

The former Juve midfielder, whose side currently lead Serie A by four points, told La Repubblica: "It's an important honour and I remember the satisfaction I felt when I won the Silver Bench award (for Serie B coach of the season) with Bari."

Zdenek Zeman, who was recently sacked by Roma, was rewarded for his record-breaking achievements at Pescara with this year's Silver Bench award.

The east coast outfit returned to the top flight after a 19-year absence under the stewardship of the veteran Czech tactician, whose attacking philosophy saw the Delfini score 90 goals in 42 league matches on their way to the Serie B title.

The 65-year-old said: "My biggest thanks go to the Abruzzese club and the players I coached there. They allowed me to play the kind of football I like."

The Lega Pro awards went to Domenico Toscano of Ternana (gold) and ex-Perugia boss Pier Francesco Battistini (silver). The two coaches guided their respective clubs to Serie B and to the Lega Pro first division respectively.



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