The AFC Asian Cup 2019 is closing in and all eyes will be on the superstars that do battle on the field over the course of a month. However, the managers on the sidelines play an equally important role, barking instructions as they attempt to mastermind their team’s success.
From World Cup-winning coaches to managers who held the reins at clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus, FOX Sports Asia looks at five of the most high-profile coaches at the continental competition:
#1 Alberto Zaccheroni (UAE)
Just three months after being appointed as head coach of the UAE, Zaccheroni oversaw a second-place finish for the Whites at the Gulf Cup.
However, his record as manager of the national team is far from stellar, picking up just four wins in 16 matches.
The former AC Milan, Inter and Juventus coach is the only manager on this list to have won the Asian Cup in the past though, having lifted the trophy with Japan, and he will look to put that experience to good use this time around.
While the UAE are definitely not among the favourites for the trophy, they are the hosts and with an experienced manager at the helm, they could spring an upset or two.
#2 Hector Cuper (Uzbekistan)
Hector Cuper has not had too much time to work with his current squad, having only been named Uzbekistan manager in August.
He has four years though to leave his imprint on Uzbek football and there is no better way to start than by guiding them to an impressive finish in the upcoming Asian Cup.
Uzbekistan have qualified for every single edition of the Asian Cup, but their best ever finish was fourth – in 2011, and Cuper has a chance to improve upon that.
The Argentinian has coached the likes of Inter Milan and Valencia in the past, to some success, with his most recent assignment coming with the Egyptian national team, leading them to the finals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Having been named La Liga Coach of the Year and UEFA Coach of the Year among others, Cuper comes with rock-solid credentials.
#3 Marcello Lippi (China)
One of the most decorated – and respected – coaches in world football, Marcello Lippi masterminded Italy’s triumph in the 2006 World Cup.
With coaching stints at Juventus, Napoli and Inter among others, Lippi has a truckload of individual accolades to his name, including UEFA Club Coach of the Year, Serie A Coach of the Year, and European Coach of the Year among others aside from being inducted into the Italian Hall of Fame.
Taking the reins at Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande in 2012, he enjoyed immense success, winning the domestic double in his first season and leading them to the AFC Champions League final in his second.
After publicly declaring his retirement, Lippi returned yet again, this time to take charge of the Chinese national team, who he has remained with since 2016.
With a talented squad at his disposal, he will be looking to mastermind China’s first ever victory in the competition.
#4 Sven-Göran Eriksson (Philippines)
Sven-Goran Eriksson took charge of Philippines ahead of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, and did fairly well, inspiring them to a semifinal finish.
With the likes of Manchester City and England on his glittering CV, Eriksson has been tipped to do great things with this Azkals team, but having signed only a six-month contract, it remains to be seen exactly what he can achieve.
This will be the Philippines’ first appearance at the Asian Cup, and the 70-year-old coach will be hoping it’s a memorable one indeed.
#5 Carlos Queiroz (Iran)
Best remembered for his hugely successful partnership with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, where he served as the assistant coach in two different spells, Queiroz too has a glittering resume to boast of.
Queiroz performed various roles at United – from chief adviser to Sir Alex, to designated post-match interviewee to master tactician, the Portuguese was a hugely respected figure at Old Trafford.
Having worked with the cream of the crop – David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few – Queiroz took the unconventional route when he signed with Iran way back in 2011.
Under the Portuguese, some of Iran’s finest talents came to the fore including the likes of Ashkan Dejagah.
With a 58.70 per cent win rate since taking charge, Queiroz has made Iran quite a force to be reckoned with, not just in Asia, but worldwide.
He will be looking to mastermind Iran’s fourth triumph at the Asian Cup, but their first since 1976.