Sven-Goran Eriksson open to calling Malaysia home

Sven-Goran Eriksson

Former England Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has not ruled out the possibility of coaching a Malaysian team and even making this country his home.

Speaking to Twentytwo13 yesterday, Eriksson, who turned 72 on Feb 5, said: “I haven’t had a professional job for the past one year. If there is something interesting in Malaysia, why not.

“I’ve not approached any (Malaysian) team as yet but I’m open to any possibility.”

Eriksson, who started his football career with Torsby IF, is now aiding his former club as they play in the third division of the Swedish league this season.

“When I first helped out the club several years ago, it was in the fifth division. Now they play in the third division. This has kept me busy.

“Also, I’ve been travelling, giving talks in England and in Sweden. I’m happy and I’m healthy.”

Eriksson, who is touted as one of Europe’s best managers, added he was also willing to call Malaysia his second home.

“I’ve got a home in Sweden but I’m looking (to stay) at another place. You know it gets really cold in Sweden,” he said in jest.

“I have some friends, Swedish and Norwegians, living in Malaysia. They speak beautiful things about Malaysia.

“Maybe I’ll come and visit my friends soon. If I come, I’ll let you know.”

It is understood some of his friends are in Malaysia as part of the Malaysia My Second Home Programme and “have spoken highly about the programme” to Eriksson.

Eriksson is no stranger to Asia as he coached several clubs in China from 2013 to 2017 before a short stint with the Philippines national team. He was hired in October 2018 to coach the Azkals following the abrupt departure of former England player-turned-manager Terry Butcher.

The Swede ended his tenure with the Philippines in January 2019.

Eriksson led the Philippines to their fourth semifinal appearance at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup where they lost 2-1 each time in the two-leg match to eventual winner Vietnam.

Under Eriksson’s watch, the Filipino team lost to China and Kyrgyzstan in the Asian Cup.

While admitting he has not followed the Malaysian league closely, Eriksson has seen some Malaysian players in action during his time in Asia.

When told that perhaps Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) was the only club in the country that could afford him, Eriksson laughed.

“They play in the (AFC) Champions League and lost to a Japanese team, correct? No I’ve not seen them play but I’ve heard of them.”

JDT lost 5-1 to Japan’s Vissel Kobe in Kobe on Feb 12.

Eriksson was also linked to A-League team Newcastle Jets last month but denied any knowledge about it.

“I don’t know. I didn’t send my resume to any team in Australia. Perhaps some agents sent it,” he added.

Eriksson is best known for his decorated career in Europe with clubs like Benfica and Roma. He was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2000 for his brilliant work with Lazio. He is only one of two non-Italians to be given that honour, the other being Jose Mourinho in 2009 and 2010.

Eriksson was appointed as England manager – the first foreigner to do so – in 2001. During his five-year reign, he guided the Three Lions to two FIFA World Cup finals (2002, 2006) and the 2004 UEFA European Championship.

Besides the Philippines, Eriksson also had stints with the Mexican and Ivory Coast national teams.