Bye, Mr Nice Guy

Soft-spoken coach: Dr Jozef Venglos died yesterday at the age of 84.

PETALING JAYA: A firm yet soft-spoken gentleman.

Those are the words when describing Dr Jozef Venglos, a renowned figure in European and world football, who passed away at the age of 84 yesterday. No details about the cause of death were given.

Former international Zainal Abidin Hassan said he used what he had learnt from the Slovakian in his capacity as Melaka coach.

Zainal said even though Venglos was not with the national team for long, he left a huge impact on him and his teammates.

Venglos handled the national squad from 1986 to 1987 and also helmed Kuala Lumpur from 1985 to 1986.

He steered KL to the Division One title in 1986 and they were Malaysia Cup runners-up in 1985.

He took Malaysia to win the Pestabola Merdeka tournament in 1986.

“Although it was a short spell, the players loved him. I learnt a lot from him and those lessons are still valuable until today and I always impart it on my players, ” he said.

“He made us understand the game better, and he is renowned for his tactical knowledge. Tactically, the game has evolved, but when it comes to man management, you can learn a lot from him. I can say he is one of the best coaches in my career.

“The last time I spoke to him was in the 90s, and after that he went on to coach some of the top sides around the world. He will be sorely missed.”

Meanwhile, Dollah Salleh said he was such a soft-spoken person but very firm during training and matches.

“I never heard him shouting at players. That was a trait that I really admired. Instead of berating, he guided us. What he did for football in the country was immense, ” said Dollah.

“We enjoyed training and every day we looked forward to something new from him. I was a young player then but he would always be there to guide me.

“He would always say ‘come on Dollah, you can do it for Malaysia’. He was a fine gentleman.”

Venglos holds a doctorate in physical education and also specialised in psychology. He had been selected by FIFA on various occasions to lecture at FIFA academies throughout the world.

He was the first manager from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland to take charge of a club in the English top-flight when he was appointed Aston Villa boss in 1990.

He spent one season at Villa before heading to Scotland with Celtic during the 1998-99 campaign.

He also had spells at Sporting Lisbon, Fenerbahce, Slovakia, Oman and Japanese team JEF United Ichihara.

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