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AFC Champions League

Harry Kewell's journey of redemption: From rock bottom to the top

Published at :May 14, 2024 at 9:26 PM
Modified at :May 14, 2024 at 9:26 PM
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(Courtesy : Getty Images)

Bishal Deb

Harry Kewell was once written off as a coach and now he stands one step away from a milestone achievement.

Harry Kewell, the pride of the Australian national team, graced the grand stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. His boots danced to the rhythm of hope, but as the final whistle echoed, a new chapter awaited – a chapter inked not in goals, but in tactics, sweat, and touchline battles. Harry Kewell’s coaching saga stands out – a testament to the undying spirit of the game and the resilience of those who live it.

The Struggles

Harry Kewell’s coaching journey began quietly, away from the roaring stadiums, in the training grounds of Watford U-21. Here, he laid the foundation of his coaching philosophy, nurturing young talents. His transition to head coach at Crawley Town was the first real test of his mettle. The move to Notts County promised a fresh start, but it quickly turned sour, leading to a swift exit. English fifth tier clubs, Oldham Athletic and Barnet followed, each stint shorter than the last, each dismissal a harsh blow to his aspirations. The whispers grew louder— “Coaching is not for you”.

The Turning Point 

Harry Kewell’s story was far from over. In December 2023, he found a new home in Japan with Yokohama F. Marinos. Here, he began to weave his magic, leading the team to the brink of glory in the AFC Champions League. His team navigated a thrilling journey to the final.

After topping Group G with an impressive 12 points, they edged past Bangkok United in a nail-biting RO16 tie, winning 3-2 on aggregate. His side then overcame Shandong Taishan with a convincing 3-1 aggregate score over two legs, before outwitting Ulsan Hyundai in the semi-finals to secure their spot in the finale.

The man once written off was now penning a remarkable chapter of success. Now, as the final looms, Kewell stands on the cusp of a defining moment. A victory here would not only silence his critics but also etch his name as just the second Australian coach to win the AFC Champions League. It’s a chance to show the world that setbacks are but steppingstones to greatness.

The Climactic Showdown 

As fate would have it, Harry Kewell’s Yokohama F. Marinos will face Hernan Crespo‘s Al Ain in the second leg of the final on 25 May. It’s a poetic encounter, echoing their clash as players in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final. Kewell’s past and present intertwine on this grand stage.

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