Miron Bleiberg is returning to coach Oakleigh in Victoria’s newly formed National Premier League and is confident the Cannons can be contenders this year.
The former Gold Coast United and Brisbane Roar boss took on the Cannons job last year in May on an interim basis and led the club to an eighth place finish. Oakleigh has been grouped along with 13 other clubs in the state’s top flight for 2014. Another 14 Victoria clubs have been placed in a second division called National Premier League 1.
Bleiberg left his job at Gold Coast United in February 2012, after a falling out with controversial owner Clive Palmer. The 59-year old said after exiting the A-League he received offers to coach in India and Malaysia but preferred to stay in Australia.
“I did Oakleigh last year for half a season as a favour,” Bleiberg said.
“I liked it and decided to come back. Passionate competition, players who are eager to learn, no media 24/7 and training in the evening which leaves the daytime for social life – dining, tennis, golf and also business – the perfect combination.”
Bleiberg is a supporter of the breakdown of the two NPL divisions in Victoria and is fan of promotion and relegation.
“The signs are good and if they maintain promotion and relegation in the system it will be even better,” he said.
“The fact that it's the 'first past the post' and not final series also makes it interesting experience. However the whole NPL all over Australia will not be true second-tier competition until it will link to the A-League via promotion and relegation.
“Now that most of the budget of the A-League teams comes from TV rights, there are enough clubs in the NPL that can afford to play in the A-League. Someone needs to one day take a 'brave' decision and say let's run two divisions as it should be like the rest of the football world.”
Bleiberg believes Oakleigh are looking promising for the start of the NPL season and welcomes the chance to compete in the upcoming FFA Cup.
“Oakleigh have assembled good players and has a good coach,” he said. “Good supporting staff and most important a very committed board, so the signs are good.
"I would like my players to challenge everything coming their way – whether it's an internal game against the reserves or the FFA Cup against A-League opposition.”
Bleiberg started his coaching career in Australia back in 1985 with the Melbourne Knights and is enjoying being back in Victorian football - but an A-League return is not dominating his thoughts.
“Since I have coached in the A League, I've completed my Pro Licence, I’ve had plenty of time for reflection and good rest so I believe I have a lot to offer,” he said.
“However, not to coach in the A League is not the end of the world for me either. I'm healthy and happy.”2 comments