Thai League-winning coach Ailton Silva is back in the hunt for a new job, with V.League side Ho Chi Minh City FC reportedly interested in securing the Brazilian coach’s signature. What is the secret behind the former Chiangrai United boss’ success, and what can his new club expect from him?
Many fans were underwhelmed when Chiangrai United announced that they had appointed Ailton Silva as their new coach. A last-minute panic-appointment due to the resignation of Jose Alves Borges, many didn’t know what to expect from the new man in charge.
Arriving from the Brazilian Serie D, and having never coached outside his home country and unable to speak English, many were stunned by the move. Nobody could have imagined at the time that this man would be the one to break a decade-long Thai League duopoly and bring a first-ever Thai League title to the Northern side.
Ailton immediately demonstrated his ability to get a side structured and organized, managing an incredible 0-0 draw away against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the AFC Champions League in just his second competitive game.
His flexibility and pragmatism were crucial in making Chiangrai the toughest side in the league to play against. The side also registered the best away record of any team, suffering only two defeats on the road all season due to their resilience to adverse conditions. The Beetles were also immense in big games thanks to his leadership, taking nine points and only losing once against the other top four sides in the league.
— Viet Footy (@VietFooty) July 25, 2020
Often criticized as being too direct or “route-one,” Ailton’s team also showed their ability to play excellent football when the opportunity arose. The side’s 2-0 away win at Chonburi and their 4-0 dismantling of Buriram stand out as remarkable performances.
Various players also flourished under his leadership. He turned Siwakorn Tiatrakul from an ineffectual winger into one of the best creative midfielders in the country and gave Ekanit Panya a chance to shine with regular first-team football. He thrived on the versatility of the club’s players, shifting between systems with ease to give his side the edge. The fact that he was able to adapt quickly to his new surroundings on the other side of the world, and so quickly win over key players of the squad, speaks volumes about his man-management ability.
In just one season in Southeast Asia, Ailton Silva established himself as a top coach with the potential to achieve even more success. It is no surprise that he wishes to make a return, and whichever club secures his signature will benefit greatly from his experience and expertise.
For further analysis of Ailton Silva’s and Chiangrai United’s Thai League triumph in 2019, check out my article for the Asian Game website.