Cklamovski gets second chance in Japan

New Montedio Yamagata manager Peter Cklamovski Source: Getty Images

Just six months after leaving Shimizu S-Pulse in the J.League, Peter Cklamovski was appointed head coach of J2 club Montedio Yamagata on Friday.

It marks the third job in Japan for the Australian coach. The 42-year-old was assistant to Ange Postecoglou when Yokohama F. Marinos became Japanese champions in December 2019.

Soon after, he took charge of Shimizu but left in November with the club languishing next to bottom after just three wins in 25 games. Now, he's back.

"I am honoured. Honoured and proud to be the coach of Montedio Yamagata,” Cklamovski said in a statement.

“I'm looking forward to it. I'm here with the purpose of taking the club forward and helping to build the future.

"With a highly-motivated coaching staff, we aim to get the best out of the players. We have young talents and experienced players and we will all work hard together to bring success and joy to our supporters in every game.”

The first task will be to steer Yamagata away from the bottom half of the table.

With just two wins from the first ten games, the team are just a point above the drop zone.

Assuming that the new coach can ensure there is no drop to the third tier this season, then, at some point in the future, thoughts will turn to promotion.

Yamagata have been in the top tier before: from 2009 to 2011 and then again for a season in 2015.

It will not be easy, however, in an increasingly competitive second tier. There are some genuinely big teams looking to climb back up the ladder such as Jubilo Iwata, Tokyo Verdy, Albirex Niigata and JEF United.

Yet if Cklamovski can at least challenge for promotion, it will help put the shine back on what is still a promising coaching career and ensure that his time at Shimizu can be seen as a valuable learning experience.

Results there were poor, clean sheets were few and far between but there were signs of progress made in attack, signs of fluidity within the team and players wanting the ball. It should be remembered that S-Pulse don't have the financial firepower of Yokohama.

Yamagata will present different challenges.

Defensively, the team is solid but have forgotten how to score and are struggling, which is precisely why the job was available.

The seventh-placed finish last season is a more accurate reflection of the team’s ability than the current 15th position.

Cklamovski should be applauded for trying again in Japan. And his appointment means that there is now an Australian coach in the top three tiers in Japan.

Of course, Postecoglou has already led Yokohama to the title and, at the moment, into fourth place. And then there is another of Postecoglou’s former assistants, with Arthur Papas in charge of J3 side Kagoshima United.

They are all on their separate journeys. Whatever happens, it is going to be an exciting ride wherever they end up.