Date: 3rd June 2010 at 7:00pm
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Looking through the betting sites as to who will be Rafa Benitez’s replacement as Liverpool manager, a named cropped up time and time again. His name was Osvaldo de Oliveira Filho. So why has this man been put ahead of other more illustrious names?

You could say that Oswaldo is a student of the game rather than having experienced the game first hand. He took a Physical Education degree, specialising in soccer coaching, at Rio de Janeiro University in 1976 before progressing to train Santa Ursula University’s football team. During this time he also coached at junior level for some club teams before becoming a coach of America FC’s senior team in Brazil in 1979. The following season he became a coach at Botafogo before dramatically upping sticks and moving to Qatar to become a national team coach at both junior and senior level.

He stayed in the Middle East for a number of years coaching the senior teams of Sharjah in the U.A.E and Al Arabi in Qatar where he stayed until 1996. Despite coaching for the best part of two decades he had still not managed a team, with the exception of a brief spell at Sharjah in 1983, but he got a break in August 96 when he was appointed Jamaica’s assistant manager. From this point on, Oswaldo  moved around to many teams. After less than a year with Jamaica he became assistant manager of Santos before leaving again to become assistant at Corinthians.

At Corinthians, he would finally get his chance to manage a top side and in 1999 he was appointed head coach, replacing the departing Vanderlei Luxemburgo. His brief time in charge was to prove to be nothing short of spectacular as he won the Sao Paulo State Championship and the Brazilan first division in the same year. He followed that up in the year 2000 by winning the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship. His success made him in great demand from other Brazilian clubs and he coached seven Brazilian clubs including Vasco da Gama, Fluminense, Sao Paulo, Flamengo, Vitoria, Santos and Cruzeiro in seven short years, having only the Sao Paulo State Championship to show for it with Sao Paulo in 2002.

During these spells he did have a brief spell in Qatar with Al-Ahli but nothing came of this venture either. Certainly Oswaldo needn’t a change of scenery and he was appointed manager of J-League side Kashima Antlers in 2007. The Antlers had been Japan’s most successful side but had fallen on lean times. Oswaldo would however turn the clubs fortunes around. In his first three seasons as manager, he won three J-League titles, one Emperor’s Cup and one Japanese Super Cup, becoming the league’s manager of the year three times in a row.

So how has a P.E graduate from Rio managed to become successful in management? In a similar way to Roy Hodgson, Oswaldo is an obsessive tactician and an innovator in training techniques. A true student of the game who, like Hodgson, has learned how to utilise all the techniques in the coaching manual, to become a successful coach. On his website, he sets out in detail his training methods, demonstrating the need for high tempo football based on keeping possession and quick passing movement. What do you think of Oswaldo?

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