SURAJ Pillai knew the odds were not in his favour before recently taking over as head coach of Manly Vale in the MWFA Premier League.
When Tony Bruzzano stepped aside following a 9-0 loss to Wakehurst, Pillai found himself in the hot seat.
In his first game in charge, Vale lost 2-1 to Brookvale, but they recently chalked up their maiden win of the season against St Augustine’s.
“I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I didn’t think we could avoid relegation,” the 27-year-old said.
“The players are still working hard and have responded well to my coaching methods.
“We will keep fighting until the final game.”
Pillai was born in India, and first came to Australia three years ago.
The Collaroy resident quickly completed his C Licence in coaching, before then getting his B Licence badge.
Working closely with Manly United Technical Director Warren Grieve has been a highlight.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Warren, his knowledge of the sport is incredible,” Pillai said.
“I am all ears when he talks, his advice is great.”
Pillai also coaches the SAP 12s and 13s boys at Manly United and away from football is studying a Masters of Management at ICMS in Manly.
If he manages to keep Manly Vale up this year, you may as well call him a modern day Harry Houdini.