Football: Uehara fires parting shot

Outgoing Southern United coach Luiz Uehara: "I have enjoyed being part of the team and have...
Outgoing Southern United coach Luiz Uehara: "I have enjoyed being part of the team and have worked alongside some excellent people." Photo by Rab Smith.
Southern United coach Luiz Uehara is not reapplying for his position, saying he wants to take a break from the game.

Before his departure after a single season, he has taken a pop at some members of the Otago football community he claims are affecting the progress of the sport in the region.

Southern United has decided to advertise the coaching position for next season although Uehara is welcome to apply for the role for 2014-15.

A review following Southern United's second-last placing prompted the team's board to advertise the head coach position for the next two seasons.

Uehara's contract was for one year initially, with an option for two more years.

''It is a result of a review, but the previous coach was on a one-term contract, so that had expired,'' Southern United chairman Aaron Joy said.

Southern United finished seventh in the eight-team ASB Premiership last year, winning just three games, drawing one and losing the other 10.

Joy said the review had produced ''pretty well what we expected''.

The position was being advertised across the New Zealand federation websites, and applications close on June 4.

It was always going to be a struggle in a league where sides from the North Island had massive resources compared with Southern United, which has been run on a shoestring.

In a statement, Uehara said he wanted to focus on ''my academic career, my children, my friends and my golf.

''I have enjoyed being part of the team and have worked alongside some excellent people,'' he said.

The majority of players were excellent in their professionalism and dedication, he said.

''This was a young inexperienced team, many of whom were playing at this level for the first time and they should be proud of themselves,'' he said.

''I believe we have achieved our short-term goals as well as having established a plan that is sustainable and efficient to finish the season strongly in the near future.''

In his statement, Uehara referred to ''utterly unethical comments'' from members of the ''old boys' club''. He described them as people who ''are the ones that negatively affect the progress of football in this region''.

He said the direct positive feedback from players, parents, supporters and sponsors had reassured him the team was on the right track. He wished the new coach all the best.

Former Dunedin Technical coach Mike Fridge looms as a front-runner for the new job. Malcolm Fleming, who coached the team when it was Otago United, may also be a contender.

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