The Lion City Sailors have a new coach on deck.
On 20 December, the club announced that Risto Vidaković has been appointed its new head coach for the new season ahead.
The 53-year-old holds a UEFA Pro coaching licence, steps into the role that filled on an interim basis by Luka Lalić, Technical Director of the Lion City Sailors Football Academy, since August 2022.
He starts in January.
“Risto is a serial winner in the region, and has proven that he can work European knowhow into the football culture in Southeast Asia – and this in varying challenging circumstances as well.
“I’m confident he is the right man to take the club forward,” said Sailors’ Chairman, Forrest Li.
“His philosophy of football matches what we envision for ourselves, and perhaps more importantly, he is a dedicated football thinker and a father figure to players, especially the young ones, and I’m excited to have him at the helm of our team.”
Vidaković is no stranger to Southeast Asian football, having worked in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, where he memorably won three straight Philippines Football League (PFL) titles between 2017 to 2019 with Ceres-Negros, also leading the Philippine side to become ASEAN zone champions in the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup after beating Home United by a 3-2 aggregate.
The Serbian was also a league winner in the Maldives with Maziya in a memorable unbeaten 2020-2021 campaign.
Before signing up with the Sailors, Vidaković was with Melaka United, a club he left through mutual consent in April 2022.
“The people at the Sailors are very professional – the club is taking things very seriously with the construction of the new Training Centre and everyone here is working on the same goal of building something very powerful in the region., he said.
“I know the club is targeting continuous improvement and optimisation,” said Vidaković.
“For me, I see this as a huge and exciting challenge to come in to make something special at the club.”
In a statement, the Sailors added that Vidaković believes that the current roster shows lots of promise.
“Every club needs a good mix between young and experienced players.
“I’m happy we have some top foreign players here who have played in top-level leagues in Europe and they will be important to help guide these young players to reach another level in their game,” he said.
MAIN PHOTO: Lion City Sailors