Posted February 28, 2011 15:28:00
Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka denies he has undermined the club’s decision to sign Juho Makela by axing the Finnish striker from his Asian Champions League squad.
Makela joined the club in December on an 18-month contract for the back-end of the A-League season and for the ACL campaign, which gets underway on Wednesday against South Korean outfit Suwon Bluewings.
However, Lavicka surprisingly did not select the 27-year-old, opting instead to hand Brazilian striker Bruno Cazarine a new 12-month deal and the final overseas player spot in the squad.
Lavicka was not aware of Makela until he arrived at the club, following a spell with Scottish team Hearts, with members of the club’s board responsible for the signing, which was made with some fanfare.
But the Czech was reluctant to pick Makela, with the big striker starting six of his eight games from the bench despite scoring two goals.
However, Lavicka, who ended any speculation about his future by signing a new one-year contract with the club last Friday, said dumping the 28-year-old had been a tough decision, but purely a football one.
“It’s unlucky for him because we have only four visa spots for the Champions League and six players, so it was a very cruel situation for us and for Makela and (Sung-Hwan) Byun,” Lavicka said.
“He was upset and disappointed but that is football, in Europe it is different, but we have to respect Asia and the rules.”
Makela’s future with the club is now very much in limbo, with the new A-League season not starting until next October and Lavicka said he will be sent out on loan to a team in Europe to keep him in shape.
However, there is a chance he could appear in the latter stages of the ACL, should Sydney progress from their group, when skipper Terry McFlynn would no longer be classed as an overseas player.
Irishman McFlynn, the club’s longest serving player and the only survivor from the inaugural season in 2005/06, became an Australian citizen eight months ago.
However, under ACL rules, he must be a citizen for at least a year to be classed as a home player.
Sydney operates in the style of many European clubs, with the coach only responsible for the team and tactics, and signings and recruitment conducted by the board.
Lavicka said he was comfortable with the current system which he worked under with Sparta Prague and Slovan Liberec in his homeland, but happy to be more hands-on when it came to player recruitment.
<a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/28/3150966.htm?site=sport§ion=footballtag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/28/3150966.htm?site=sport”>Lavicka stands by Makela decision