Southeast Asia

SEA Manager Focus – Most Successful Coaches

In today’s special feature on Football Tribe Asia, we look back at the most successful coaches in each of the region’s four major leagues.


Name: Dollah Salleh

Age: 55

Nationality: Malaysia

Club: Pahang FA

Dollah was one of Malaysia's top footballers in the 80's and 90's. He started his coaching career with Selangor MPPJ in 2003. The same year, he guided the team to become the first ever club to win Malaysia Cup by beating Sabah 3–0 in the final. One of his most memorable achievements was the record he created in 2005, when he won a treble with Selangor - Malaysia Premier League, Malaysia FA Cup, and Malaysia Cup. After failing to keep his momentum, he moved to Kuantan Port-Shahzan Shah and then to Pahang in 2013. At Pahang, he successfully guided the side to their first Malaysia Cup trophy in 21 years. His time at the club was punctuated by a short and unsuccessful spell in charge of the Malaysian National Team in 2014.

Pahang have been strong and consistent this season under Dollah Salleh. Despite having played just two matches, he has shown that Pahang is able to compete for the Super League title, managing to beat their opponents by huge margins in both of their previous two matches. They will be expected to challenge defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim, who have also put up a good showing in the previous two matches. Pahang is now on top of the Super League, while JDT is second on goal difference.


Name: Jacksen F. Tiago

Age: 50

Nationality: Brazil

Club: Barito Putera

JFT came to Indonesia in 1994 and become one of the famous foreign players that the country ever had. He took Persebaya Surabaya to the league title as top scorer in the 1996-97 season. He started his career as a coach in 2002 to coach Persebaya's reserve side, Assyabab, before managing the Green Force a year later. With Persebaya, he won two national titles, but his prime time was to come when he managed Persipura Jayapura. Under his guidance, the Black Pearls become one of the biggest names in Indonesian club football and winning the league in 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13. He also took Persipura on memorable journeys in the AFC Cup.

Since 2017, he has managed Barito Putera after successfully taking Penang FA promoted to Malaysia Super League in 2014. However, the Antasari warriors still fighting in the mid-table. After losing national team star and club captain, Hansamu Yama, Jacksen signed two Brazilian defenders to fill this hole. Additionally, new midfielder Evan Dimas Darmono will work together with his ex-colleague in U-19 national team, Paulo Sitanggang. With his attacking philosophy, JFT will make Barito more energic with the talented young players at his disposal. This season, Barito Putera not waiting too long to do well in the league.


Name: Bozidar Bandovic

Age: 49

Nationality: Montenegro

Club: Buriram United

Bandovic has experience as an assistant coach with Greek giants Olympiacos, even stepping in as caretaker manager in 2009 and 2010. His first spell with Buriram United in 2014 was a short and unproductive one. However, his 2nd spell in 2017 is a great success as Bandovic won the league 2 titles in a row, impressively breaking the points record in consecutive seasons. Many academy graduates who would go on to play for the national team flourished under Bandovic's guidance. In 2018, the club made it to Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League for the first time in 4 years, while also breaking the record for most consecutive wins in the Thai League (15).

This season Buriram United is still favourite to lift the Thai League title, but will face a much bigger threat from last season's runners-up Bangkok United who have invested heavily to strengthen their side. Apart from the league, which is Bandovic's priority, the 49 years old is expected to build on from last season's ACL run that saw Buriram United reached the Round of 16.


Name: Le Thuy Hai

Age: 73

Nationality: Vietnam

Le Thuy Hai is the most successful coach in Vietnamese football history. He worked as the coach for around 15 clubs over the course 22 years before retiring in 2016. He has won 3 V.League titles, 2 National Cup title, 3 Super Cup titles. He has known as "Special One" in the coaching world of Vietnam.