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Farewell Jadet? Be Careful What You Wish For

 

Despite flying as high as third for the majority of the season, the inevitable ramifications of the no-tactics, no-training and no-fitness regime at the PAT Stadium have seen Port regress as low as fourth, in what has been called the “first crisis of the Jadet Era.”

 

All jokes aside, Port – and more specifically owner Madame Pang – are in a position where they must choose whether or not to stick with their current boss come next season. The 2019 campaign is likely to have high stakes for the Klongtoey side, as it is expected to be Pang’s last in charge of the club, and she will be in the hunt for some silverware to show for her vast investment.

 

Firstly, it is important to recognize what Jadet has managed to achieve. To string together a disparate group of newly acquired stars into a team that plays fluid, attacking football is no mean feat. He has lifted the club after Zico’s disastrous tenure with what appears to be a far more laid-back regime has taken the club very far, which deserves to be respected.

 

However, many people are of the (seemingly correct) belief that Jadet is holding Port back. The development of many bright young prospects has slowed, the side tends to lack a Plan B, and complacency has begun to settle in as many of the players have become undroppable at the behest of the owner.

 

However, the most troubling aspect of this Port regime seems to be the lack of improvement of individual players within the system. The side is run by players who are already at their peak, and have been signed as “finished articles” from their clubs at very high prices. Players such as Nurul, Boskovic, Suarez or Kim Sung-Hwan are excellent, but they were already excellent when they first stepped foot into Klongtoey.

 

None of these players have improved or developed new facets of their game under Jadet Even Kevin Deeromram, who should be improving rapidly as a 21-year-old, has not been helped to correct the defensive aspect of his game since arriving at the PAT Stadium. This strikes a stark contrast to some of the players who have been turning out for Buriram, Bangkok United and Muangthong – the three sides that currently sit above Port in the league.

 

Stagnating players lead to a stagnating team, and Jadet’s seemingly laissez-faire approach to man-management has finally caught up with the side.

 

However, calls for a change on the touchline should be met with caution.

 

The failed “Zico Experiment” continues to weigh of fans minds, and should serve as a reminder of how attempting to enforce stricter tactical constraints on this team can backfire. Any attempt to overhaul the team at the behest of an ambitious new manager would put the groundwork laid down this season to waste, and wouldn’t be possible due to the limited time remaining under the current ownership.

 

In short, the Klongtoey Lions are looking for a coach that can work within Port’s highly restrictive management system with a set of players that are unlikely to respond well to being pushed or transformed to meet the needs of a more developed system. When looking at these search criteria, only one name springs to mind – Jadet himself.

 

While his methods and management may not be ideal, his departure could risk upsetting the extremely precarious balance Port currently find themselves in. The question is not about whether or not change is needed, but more so about whether or not Port’s contrived hierarchical setup is capable of handling the change.

Jadet Keeps Window Closed

 

Whilst one imagines that “OPEN A WINDOW, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD” must be a common refrain in the Meelarp household, there’s one window that Jadet is keeping firmly closed – the transfer window. Speaking to the Thai press, Sir Det announced that there would be no new arrivals in the mid-season window. With Port boasting their strongest ever squad and sitting pretty in third place, the Spherical Supremo (c Tom Earls) is happy with his existing resources.

“We have no plans to add new players in the second leg” he said (well, he said it in Thai, then I ran it through Google Translate and reworded it). “Everyone is playing well and helping the team, and we have no serious injuries”. One hopes he was touching wood when he said that last bit.

He continued: “We already have a strong team and lots of reserves waiting to come in, who are also good players. We will not add anyone.”

The Sandpit would quite like to see a decent back-up right-back come in, and possibly a big nasty central defender. Whilst the imminent start of both cup competitions will mean more action for the likes of Terens, Bodin, Arthit and others, it’ll also mean more potential injuries, and whilst Sir Det seems confident of Port’s strength in depth, there are several players – notably Nitipong, Kevin and Boskovic – who don’t have any quality cover.

Nevertheless, these are exciting times to be a Port fan, and with no managerial or playing changes likely to be made at the halfway point, unusual ones as well.

 

Port Accrue Big ‘Det: Coach Signs New Contract for 2018

 

Prior to the club’s final game of the 2017 season on Saturday, Mme Pang has announced that coach Jadet’s services have been retained for 2018. Since taking back his place on the bench following the bizarre and unsuccessful Zico experiment, Jadet’s league record reads played 5, won 4, drawn 1, with that draw coming against Muangthong, and a season that looked like fizzling out or worse, turning into a relegation battle, has been turned around, with Port only needing a point in their last game to guarantee a top half finish.

In an interview with Goal, La Pang revealed that she is, and this is from Google Translate lest you think I’m being naughty, “glad to be able to make a happy end to the fans.” Bet those of you who left early on Saturday are regretting it now eh? She also stated that next season will be tough with 5 clubs going down, and that the club are already planning for next season.

As for Jadet, whilst I still don’t think he’s the guy to take Port up to the next level, it’s hard to argue with his achievements since taking over midway through 2016. Promotion back to T1, a League Cup semi-final, THAT win over Muangthong and a top 10 T1 finish for a club who cannot compete financially with most of the teams around them, is a pretty damned impressive record. But with 5 teams facing the drop next season and Pang likely to splash more cash than usual during the close season, the pressure will be on the big fella from day 1 and a slow start could well see our fragrant chairwoman wield the axe. Whatever happens, you’ll read about it on The Sandpit!

 

Kiatisacked! Jadet Makes Way for Zico

 

When the Sandpit speculated a couple of weeks ago on the possible arrival of former Thailand coach Kiatisak “Zico” Senamuang as Port’s new coach, it was merely idle banter based on a picture of him hangin’ out with Madame Pang, and published mainly for cheap clicks.

3 weeks later, the club have formally announced that Zico has indeed replaced Jadet as Port’s head coach with immediate effect, and will we presume be taking charge of the team for Sunday’s game against Bangkok Utd.

Given the club’s shambolic handling of the June transfer window, it’s clear some changes had to be made, and at last night’s press conference, Jadet admitted he had no clue which players were going & which were staying. It’s a little harsh on Jadet – since he took over he’s guided Port to a League Cup semi, promotion from the second division, and a top half place in T1. A pretty good achievement given the club’s resources. And let’s face it, lasting almost a year as coach under Mme Pang is an achievement in itself.

But as we’ve said before, it’s been clear all season that if the club really want to aim higher, Jadet probably isn’t the man, which explains today’s move. Kiatisak brings a very high profile, having recently guided Thailand to the second round of AFC World Cup qualifying, and an excellent managerial record with a win rate of 49.45% over 11 years and 273 games. His career as Thailand manager suggests he’s one to favour younger players over old lags, which is exactly what Port need right now, and his status should help attract talented younger Thai players to the club. It’s just a shame the move wasn’t made at the start of the transfer window…but at least we got there before Muangthong or Buriram.

So firstly, The Sandpit would like to say a big thank you to Jadet for all he’s done as coach, and wish him well in his new role as Technical Director. And secondly, we’d like to give Zico a warm welcome to Port, and wish him every success in his new role!

Port FC eh? Never a dull moment…

 

 

The Sandpit Predicts… 2017 Starting XI

 

We’ve seen all sorts of experimentation so far in pre-season, but with just two weeks to go until the 2017 season gets underway, we think we have a pretty good idea of who will be taking the field to face Rachaburi on February 11th.
We’re going to show you predicted starting XIs from Sandpitters Dom and Tom, as well as goal.com. All three take the 4-2-3-1 formation that has been used throughout pre-season as their template.

 

 

Dom has gone for Worawut (36) in goal, backing the ‘keeper who has played the majority of games over the last two seasons to hold on to his place in the side. He likes Rattanai (17) as a quality back-up option but says he will be cowering behind the Zone B drums if Weera gets anywhere near the pitch.

In defence, Rochela (22), Dolah (40) and Meechok (20) are almost certainties, whilst Dom thinks that Panpanpong (19) will edge out Piyachart (23) for the left back spot due to his more solid defending.

In central midfield, Siwakorn (16) partners Wanchalerm Yingyong, who Dom thinks could be preferred to youngster Tatchanon (27). An attacking trio of Genki (18), Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) will provide ammunition for Kaluderovic (10), who Dom backs to edge out Asdrubal (24) as first choice striker.

 

 

Tom thinks that Rattanai (17) has done enough to earn himself a starting spot in 2017. The ‘keeper who played in the crucial cup games against Muangthong last season as well as the key league game against Ubon UMT has looked more comfortable with his feet this pre-season, which Tom thinks makes him slightly preferable to Worawut (36). He also thinks that Weera will be back-up to the back-up.

Rochela (22), Dolah (40), and Meechok (20) are again the obvious choices in defence, although Tom fancies that the more attacking left back – Piyachart (23) – will be preferred to Panpanpong (19) as he thinks Port have looked short of attacking ideas when Panpanpong and Genki (18) have played together on the left.

In midfield Siwakorn (16) is partnered by young newcomer Tatchanon (27), who Tom thinks has played his way in to Jadet’s plans since his arrival from Army. He has looked disciplined and consistent, even earning the praise of David Rochela in The Sandpit’s recent interview with the Port skipper.

Genki (18) will be selected ahead of Ekkapoom (8) on the left wing, although Tom thinks that against weaker opposition the more attacking Ekkapoom could well be favoured. Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) will complete the attacking midfield, while Kaluderovic (10) will be tasked with scoring the goals to fire Port up the table.

 

 

goal.com have made the surprising choice of Weera in goal. Whilst he has played plenty of pre-season minutes, we would be surprised if he was on the bench, let alone on the pitch in two weeks time. Maybe the guys at goal.com know something we don’t!

In defence, it’s once again Rochela (22), Dolah (40), Meechok (20), with Panpanpong (19) getting the nod at left back.

Siwakorn (16) partners Tatchanon (27), with the usual trio of Genki (18), Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) ahead of them. Up front, Kaluderovic (10) is expected to be Jadet’s favoured option.

The Certainties

Putting the possibility of injuries to one side, there are 7 pretty-much nailed on starters in 2017. Rochela and Dolah will start in central defence, and Meechok will retain his place at right back. Siwakorn will fill one of the two central midfield roles, while Suarez will be used either as an attacking midfielder or a more withdrawn role. Wherever he plays, he will be starting. Pakorn will be right-winger, and we’re pretty sure that Genki will hold off Ekkapoom to start on the left wing, although perhaps this should be in its’ own ‘not-quite certainty’ category.

The Question Marks

It’s a three way battle in goal, as illustrated by our choices. Either Worawut, Rattanai or Weera could be selected, although The Sandpit thinks that Worawut and Rattanai are far more likely options.

Panpanpong is probably a slight favourite to Piyachart at left back. He has been picked for most of the friendlies, although his performances have been less than inspiring. Piyachart, on the other hand, has been playing with the second string, but putting himself in to contention with some excellent displays.

In central midfield, there are many options for Jadet to choose from. We think that Tatchanon might be a slight favourite to start, but Piyachat (28), Wanchalerm and Siwapong are all realistic alternatives.

Up front, all three XIs chose Kaluderovic, but it could well still be Astrubal who is preferred. The Spaniard looked lively and technically very good on his brief debut appearance, but the reason we give Kaluderovic a slight edge is the ease with which he scored his two debut goals. He looked like a natural goal-poacher, and that is likely to be what Jadet is after from his lone forward.

Let us know if you agree or disagree with our selections in the comments section below!