|By Khalis Rifhan
Vjeran Simunic, One of the most animated coaches the S.League has seen in recent history, bagged the Coach of the Year award for 2012 during the awards night held at ITE College East on Sunday night.
The Croatian native not only masterminded Brunei DPMM FC's win in the StarHub League Cup final against Geylang United, but also achieved a respectable second-place in the league after the team's two-year hiatus from professional football due to a ban imposed by FIFA.
Simunic felt that he deserved the award as he had transformed football in the Sultanate and not only made their players a household name in Brunei but also in the region.
“It is not only about results, I helped to develop Bruneian football," said Simunic.
"Today people know more than 10 Bruneian players. You now know who is Subhi Abdillah, Rosmin Kamis and Wardun Yusoff unlike before.”
The former Hadjuk Split and Tokyo Verde goalkeeper confirmed to the media that he will still be in charge for the new season in 2013.
This is a new milestone in Simunic's coaching career as he has never before gone beyond a single season at any of his previous clubs. Having started coaching in 1993, he has coached a staggering 27 clubs to date.
“Yes, I am staying for next year as I had signed a two-year contract," he explained.
"I am continuing because they like me. This is the first time in my life that I am staying for more than a season in one club.”
But Simunic knows that his signature means nothing on a piece of paper as coaches do get the boot if results don’t go their way, adding: “But you know, in our job, contract means nothing. The situation can be changed very easily. Sometimes, if you lose two or three game, you are all by yourself.”
“I also do not like to stay if I do not get the results and just sit and take the salary. I am a coach that likes to see my players develop.”