2019 Thai League champions Chiangrai United have parted ways with head coach Masami Taki, after declining to renew the coach’s contract, which finishes this month.
Coach Taki was bought in at Chiangrai United after their title-winning head coach, Ailton Silva, departed the club and returned to his native Brazil. The Japanese coach was tasked with maintaining stability after the side struggled to invest during the most recent transfer window.
Considered by many to be an underwhelming appointment at the time, Taki has performed decently well with the side, and emerged strongly from the league break COVID-19 lockdown. However, his contract, scheduled to run until the end of the originally planned season, was not extended to account for the league break and new calendar.
The timing of this latest development could make things difficult for the Northerners, as they are set to play the AFC Champions League group stage later this month, facing off against FC Seoul, Beijing Guoan and Melbourne Victory at the rescheduled and relocated tournament.
Furthermore, due to their Champions League commitments, the side face a slate of rescheduled Thai League games, playing Police Tero, Sukhothai and Muangthong in the next three weeks before departing for their continental adventure. Given that qualification for the 2021 AFC Champions League is determined by league position at the end of the first leg of the season (Matchday 15), these games also have major importance for the Beetles.
It remains to be seen who Chiangrai United’s next appointment will be. Firstly, the stature of coach they are aiming to attract will be a major point of intrigue, as many reputable Thai League coaches are currently available. Secondly, it will be interesting to see whether the side’s appointment is more geared towards short-term success in the coming matches, or focused on sustainability on a limited budget for the coming seasons.
Regardless of the outcome, Chiangrai’s squad has shown an ability to adapt to managerial changes quickly, going through their most successful period ever over the last three years despite having three different head coaches. The side will need to channel that ability to the full for their upcoming matches.