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Shanghai: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Elite Club Coaches Forum concluded in Shanghai on Thursday with the top Asian coaches agreed on the need to continue to grow and improve AFC’s top club competitions and the vital role the forum plays in that objective.

Former European Champions Fabio Capello, the Jiangsu Suning coach, and Felix Magath, from Shandong Luneng, led the contingent from the Chinese Super League. They were joined by Gus Poyet, the former Brighton and Sunderland manager, from Shanghai Shenhua, Dragan Stojkovic of Guangzhou R&F, Andre Villas-Boas from Shanghai SIPG, former China national team manager Zhu Guanghu and Fu Bo, the Guangzhou Evergrande assistant coach.

The AFC Coach of the Year 2016 Choi Kang-hee from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, a double AFC Champions League winner, and FC Seoul’s Hwang Sun-hong represented Korea Republic while Shimotaira Takahiro, of Kashiwa Reysol, travelled from Japan.

Kevin Muscat, of Australia’s A- League Melbourne Victory, Mirko Jelicic from Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv, and Esteghlal’s Alireza Mansourian gave a true Asia-wide context to the gathering along with special guest Christian Gross, who until recently coached Saudi Arabian team Al Ahli.

The forum discussed the similarities and differences between the AFC Champions League and the UEFA Champions League as well as innovations to continue the progress of Asia’s leading club competition, in line with the AFC’s stated Vision and Mission to deliver top-class competitions and develop teams that can compete on the world stage.

The coaches also gave their opinions on the use of video assistance for referees, additional assistant referees (introduced at the AFC Champions League quarter-final stage), crisis management, player motivation, actual playing time and simulation.

Discussions also concentrated on the position and regulations on foreign players’ eligibility for the AFC Champions League, salary caps, media management, broadcast access and job security for leading coaches in Asia.

Andy Roxburgh, the AFC Technical Director who chaired the forum, said: “For the second time we have had coaches from all over Asia sharing their experiences and giving advice freely to their colleagues. It was a fascinating two days in which many  important subjects were discussed and some valuable insights were gathered.”

Dragan Stojkovic, the Guangzhou R&F coach, added: “The exchange of views among the senior coaches on the Continent is vital for the development of football In Asia. We all have a responsibility to grow the game and the more we can learn about the culture and the challenges of coaches in this region, the better.”

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