Head Coach profile: Csaba Laszlo seeks bringing Chennaiyin FC back to trophy-winning ways
In search of their third Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) title, Chennaiyin FC have placed their faith in Romania-born Hungarian Csaba Laszlo for the upcoming season. The 56-year-old head coach comes to India with huge experience, and will have his hands full in light of a more competitive season and the challenges of living in a bio-bubble.
A midfielder in his playing days, Laszlo’s coaching career has seen him travel to a number of countries in Europe. He started off at German club BW Kerpen before moving to Tus Grevenbroich and Borussia Monchengladbach B. A big breakthrough came in 2004 when he joined the coaching staff of the Hungarian national team, as assistant to the legendary Lothar Matthaus.
The same year saw Laszlo take over the reins of Ferencvarosi TC in the Hungarian top division, where he led the team to the third round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers in 2004-05. He was awarded the 2005 Hungarian Coach of the Year trophy.
In 2006, Laszlo moved to Africa to take charge of the Ugandan national team and under his command, the Cranes moved from 167th to 91st in the FIFA rankings. Two years later, he earned himself a move to Scotland-based club Heart of Midlothian FC, popularly known as Hearts.
Laszlo was integral to the Hearts side that finished third in the league standings and secured qualification to the UEFA Europa League playoff round. His achievements with the Scottish club were acknowledged as he was named 2008-09 Manager of the Year by both the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Writers’ Association.
After his time at Hearts, Laszlo moved to Belgian side RSC Charleroi before short stints with the Lithuanian national team, Hungarian club MTK Budapest and Serbian side DAC Dunajska Streda.
He returned to Scotland in 2017 to join Dundee United and led them to third in Scottish Championship (second tier of Scottish football) but failed to secure promotion to the top flight. His last managerial role saw him take over Romanian side Sepsi OSK.
The young guns of Chennaiyin will look to make the most of their time under such an experienced head coach. Ahead of the season, Laszlo has made it clear what he wants from his players. “I want to play dominating football if we have the ball. I look at how the team reacts when in possession or if they have lost the ball in the midfield. These questions are all part of my philosophy.”
Chennaiyin FC fans will not mind that philosophy that indeed has the potential of bringing another Hero ISL trophy to their cabinet.