BEIRUT

Football

Bucker not leaving Lebanon, wants to start new project

BEIRUT: Lebanon coach Theo Bucker squashed rumors Monday that he was leaving the Lebanese national team despite leading the side to a historic fourth-round place in the 2014 World Cup qualifying stage.

Numerous stories circulated the Internet Monday suggesting Bucker had been sacked by the Lebanese FA for reasons as varied as choosing Abbas Hassan – who made a high profile goalkeeping error last Wednesday – over crowd favorite Ziad Samad and government interference.

Bucker was adamant Monday however that he had a positive meeting with Lebanese FA chief Hashem Haidar and that he plans to reform the youth coaching structure in Lebanon.

“Our present situation is this: On Thursday I am flying to Malaysia to attend the draw for the next round [of World Cup qualifying],” Bucker told The Daily Star. “Then I come back on Saturday or Sunday and by next Monday I will have another meeting with the president [Hashem Haidar]. The president has all the understanding with me and agrees with me 100 percent that now based on the achievements of the last six months we should find for Lebanon football the right system of going forward, of implementing a different system. So one day after one, after two, after three years [when] I will be out [of the national team] then everything won’t collapse, everything will continue.”

Bucker is planning to set up a coaching structure that will allow Lebanon to flourish for years to come, something that was successfully achieved in Japan by Bucker’s mentor Dettmar Cramer.

“What I’m aiming for is to bring a better kind of football education for the federation with the help of foreign coaches, so our coaches can learn something. This is the situation.

“It should aim for a much better co-ordination and a better system so everyone from the youngest [age group] and the first team is benefiting from it. In the end the main beneficiary will be the federation, this is what we should aim for. It should be more transparent. Not everyone here can voice their own opinion, we don’t need too many people making too [many] decisions.”

It is believed, however, that if the FA doesn’t agree to reform its coaching policies, Bucker may walk away from his post as Lebanon coach, a position he has held for only six months.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 06, 2012, on page 14.

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