You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Phoenix coach Kalezic eyes A-League title

NZN 6/06/2017

Coach Darije Kalezic appreciates Wellington Phoenix might not have the financial resources of other A-League clubs, but he's confident they can still threaten as title contenders.

The Phoenix on Wednesday officially announced they had signed Kalezic and assistant Rado Vidosic on two-year contracts.

"Everyone knows we can't compare ourselves financially with the big clubs in Australia, but that doesn't mean we can't fight for the titles," Kalezic said.

"We have to find another power to make that possible - the working structure, a professional environment, a unified atmosphere in the team, and to play for our fans.

"All these things give us the extra push to fight with the big clubs."

Kalezic joins the Phoenix four years after the club first approached him in the hunt to replace inaugural coach Ricki Herbert.

Wellington opted for Ernie Merrick in 2013, but returned to Kalezic after last season's disappointing seventh-place finish after Merrick's resignation eight weeks into the season.

After a playing career in Bosnia and the Netherlands, the 47-year-old Kalezic has had managerial stints in the Netherlands, Belgium, England - with Stockport County - and Saudi Pro League club Al-Taawoun.

Vidosic brings a proven A-League record to the Phoenix, with back-to-back championship titles during his time at Brisbane Roar alongside Ange Postecoglou, and another championship as an assistant at Melbourne Victory.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said Kalezic's ability to develop players, as well as identify and recruit talent, was a key component in his signing.

"There is no substitute for a coach with such wide-reaching connections and networks, especially within top European clubs," Dome said.

Wellington have already lost a handful of front-line players in attackers Kosta Barbarouses and Shane Smeltz, All Whites keeper Glen Moss, playmaker Roly Bonevacia and young defender Jacob Tratt.

Kalezic said work was already well underway to rebuild the Phoenix squad, with announcements expected soon.

"We've already started to recruit some players for some positions but we have to take time for that process - we don't have to make fast decisions, we cannot make mistakes," he said.

It was important to sign players willing to learn, and who would fit in with what Kalezic described as the Dutch style of football.

"We want to play attractive football, this is the starting point, but always from good and hard discipline, and with good organisation," he said.

"I come here with Rado to play for trophies, and that will be from the first to last day."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon