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Durakovic gets Victory job

21 June 2011-SBS

Man in charge ... new Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic

Melbourne Victory confirmed the appointment of Mehmet Durakovic as its new coach for the next two seasons, while Francis Awaritefe is the club's new football director.

"It gives me great pleasure today, to announce two significant appointments in the football department at Melbourne Victory," chairman Anthony Di Pietro said in a statement at Tuesday's press conference.

"After much deliberation and an extremely thorough recruitment process, the Board of Directors has appointed Mehmet Durakovic as the club's Head Coach for the next two seasons."

"Francis Awaritefe has been appointed to undertake the newly created position of Football Director."

Former Socceroos defender Durakovic's ascent was confirmed following his five-match stint guiding Victory during its latest AFC Champions League campaign.

"I am looking forward to the challenge," Durakovic said.

"Melbourne Victory is a big club, if not just the biggest in Australia, the biggest in Asia.

"I am confidfent in my ability and I'm very excited with the coaching staff we have implemented."

The 45-year-old replaced the sacked Ernie Merrick one match into the group stage, and after losing his first match in charge was undefeated in his last four.

Victory played expansive and exciting football during those matches, just missing out on a second-stage ACL berth.

"The club received over 80 applications for Head Coach and went through two stages of interviews prior to reaching our outcome," Di Pietro said.

"I'd like to thank the Board of Directors and those who provided external advice, in particular Han Berger, for their work and assistance.

"I'd like to thank each of the candidates and I'd like to thank our members for their patience and confidence in our handling of the process.

"In Mehmet and Francis, we have two young and respected former Socceroos who we believe will take this club to the next level - both domestically and in Asia. They have extensive experience in Australian football and are both incredibly driven to succeed.

"Mehmet did a fantastic job in a short space of time to transform our recent AFC Champions League campaign and demonstrated to the Board, that his managerial and coaching skills were of the quality we were seeking.

"The way Mehmet presented throughout the process was second to none and it became clear that he was the right person to take the club forward.

"We are also very excited about what Francis brings to our football club. He assumes a newly created role, Football Director, which in addition to handling the football department administration, will involve fostering our football 'club centred' philosophy and culture. Francis will also drive the creation of our youth pathway programs and development of a prototype for up and coming Melbourne Victory footballers.

"Francis will work very closely with our key football staff, comprising of Mehmet, Assistant coach Kevin Muscat and goalkeeping coach Steve Mautone.

"These appointments are further examples of the investments being made in Australian Coaching and the improvement of technical expertise of Australian players.

"It is an unbelievably exciting time for Melbourne Victory.

"We have a strong belief in the squad that we are bringing together and we have great faith in our key personnel at the football club.

"It is a fresh approach that we take and we eagerly await the 2011/12 season to commence," Di Pietro's statement concluded.

The Melbourne Victory playing squad returns to the club on Monday 4 July for the start of pre-season training.

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