MBU’s Serbian coach harbours big ambitions in first stint

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Friday, September 02, 2016

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TUCKER, St James — Serbian Slavisa Bozicic has big plans for Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions Montego Bay United (MBU) and hopes to take the club further in the CONCACAF Champions Cup than they have been before.

Montego Bay United managed a single point in their first-ever foray into the sub-continental competition last season, giving up a three-goal lead against a DC United developmental squad at the Montego Bay Sports Complex before hanging on for a 3-3 result.

The 50-year-old Bozicic, who will be the director of football for the two-time RSPL champions, will work along with Coach Dillon Thelwell, Club President Orville Powell told the Jamaica Observer.

His appointment extends the love affair with foreign coaches by the MBU management, and Bozicic will be the fifth non-Jamaican-born to be at the club and eighth person to take charge of the team in their sixth season in the competition.

MBU will open the defence of their RSPL title against promoted Maverly-Hughenden at WesP ow Park, and even before a ball has been kicked, in anger the affable Bozicic is already charting big plans for the club and said on Monday he hoped to take the club to greater success in the CONCACAF Club Championship.

"My plan is to make bigger step in CONCACAF competition," Bozicic told the Observer through interpreter, player Zvezdan Doreilovic, who is trying to force his way into the MBU starting team as well.

"I hope for better results in the CONCACAF than before," Bozicic said.

MBU will contest the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship starting early next year and must get a top-three placing before they can make plans for the CONCACAF competition.

Both Jamaican clubs, MBU and Arnett Gardens, failed to advance past the first round of the CFU competition last year, but MBU were invited to play Haitian club Don Bosco in a warm-up game in The Bahamas last month.

Bozicic has high praises for the level of talent he has seen in the island so far and is impressed with the squad he has at his disposal.

"MBU is a good mixture of talent and young players, and when the league starts the young players can make a difference," he said. "They could attract the attention of bigger clubs from outside the island and can do well and move on to bigger things."

Like all new coaches, the Serbian has set his sights high and has targeted retaining the RSPL title this season.

Bozicic follows in the footsteps of a long list of coaches who have been at MBU since the 2011-12 season, when they returned to the island’s top club competition after winning the JFF’s Confederation play-offs.

Hugh Solomon was in charge for a few games in the first season before Brazilian Nedier dos Santos took over and lasted until the first six games of the second season, when he walked away after a series of losses.

Dr Dean Weatherly, Donovan Duckie, American Timothy Hankinson, who was in charge at the start of last season, Spaniard Carlos Garcia, Paul "Tegat" Davis and a second Brazilian Leonardo Neiva have also been in charge at one stage or the other over the last five years.

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