Former A-Leagues coach on track to join exclusive group in Asia & he’s doing it his way

Arthur Papas has an unrelenting belief in his philosophy.

From his journeys across Australia, India, Saudi Arabia and Japan, the highly rated Australian has had an emphasis on an high-octane style of attacking football.

Now, Ange Postecoglou’s former assistant has his newest club on track for championship honours and he is doing it his way.

Papas is the head coach of Thai League 1 champions Buriram United – the most successful club in Thailand and one of the biggest in Asia.

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He initially arrived following his departure from Isuzu UTE A-League outfit Newcastle Jets at the end of 2022-23, appointed head coach just one day before the season began.

The 44-year-old, who was one of Postecoglou’s assistants during the Aussie trailblazer’s successful two seasons in Japan where he guided Yokohama F.Marinos to the 2019 title, has Buriram on course for back-to-back league crowns.

Buriram are four points clear at the summit through 21 rounds and Papas could become one of only a few Australians to win a top-tier league in Asia, with Thailand ranked eighth in the AFC.

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Papas – still highly regarded in Japan having also coached J3 League side Kagoshima United – would join the likes of A-Leagues legend Postecoglou (F.Marinos in 2019) and ex-Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat (F.Marinos in 2022) to get his hands on a league title in Asia.

Papas – February’s Manager of the Month – has the Thunder Castle doing it in style too, with just one defeat in 21 Thai League 1 fixtures.

Before Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Chonburi, Buriram had registered eight straight wins which included 26 goals scored.

Heading into the weekend’s game, they also had the highest possession and penalty-box entries, and the most clean sheets with 10.

Papas’ tenure has also included a memorable victory in his hometown after guiding Buriram past three-time reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers Melbourne City back in the AFC Champions League in November.

It was a significant milestone for Buriram as it ended a five-year wait for a win in the Champions League group phase.