Sydney FC struggling to retain coach

January 15, 2006
By Greg Buckle

Sydney FC chairman Walter Bugno says the A-League club is scrambling to sign up coach Pierre Littbarski for next season amid growing interest from Japan to poach the former German World Cup winner.

Littbarski said on Monday he was keen to stay on but added the uncertainty over his future may be affecting some players.

Bugno backed Littbarski despite a run of three draws which has put second-placed Sydney FC out of the race for the inaugural minor premiership.

"We are currently working through with Pierre the opportunity of him staying with us. We are very keen to retain him," Bugno told AAP.

"We think he has done a good job with Sydney FC in his first year and we think he can do even better in years to come."

Bugno said he was mindful that Littbarski had made a big impression in Japan last month in guiding Sydney FC to fifth in the Club World Championship.

"Certainly in Japan where he is a very well-known figure is the biggest risk for us," Bugno said.

"Arguably you would say that our best performances this year have been when we were at the Club World Championship in Japan and that grabbed the attention of lots of people.

"So yes, we're conscious of the fact that there is interest in Pierre from other parts of the world and that's something that we have to deal with.

"We'd like to get everything done as quickly as possible. If it was possible to have done it already we would have."

Comfortably placed in second spot behind Adelaide United three weeks out from the finals, Sydney has won just one of its past six A-League games.

Since returning from the Club World Championship, Sydney has looked uninspiring in drawing against New Zealand, the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast.

Bugno also laughed off a Sydney newspaper report which said Littbarski was poised to sign a two-year deal worth an estimated $1 million.

"I have not yet received an offer from Sydney Football Club, so I'm waiting," Littbarski told AAP.

"For me it's not a big deal. I think the players are a little bit uncertain over next year.

"There is also a lot of planning to do. I think it should be better to have a very clear (picture) about my situation."

Littbarski said he aimed to pick up a commentating role with German television at the World Cup.

"I hope for the German TV but also because Japan and Australia are in the same group, there will also be some chances maybe for the Japanese television," Littbarski said.

Littbarski hinted he would make changes to his side for Saturday night's clash with Queensland Roar, including possibly moving Dwight Yorke from midfield to a striking role.

Sydney FC midfielder Terry McFlynn will miss the Roar match and next week's trip to Perth after he was hit with an automatic two-match ban for picking up his seventh yellow card of the season against the Mariners.