A-League expansion franchise Macarthur South-West Sydney have all but settled on their inaugural coach, with Ante Milicic set to take the reins for the club’s entry into the competition in 2020-21.
The current Matildas mentor has been linked with the job since late last year, and is understood to have begun sounding out potential signings over joining him at Sydney’s third A-League club.
The newcomers - who today will officially unveil former A-League boss Archie Fraser as their CEO - also have ambitious plans to make ex-Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak their first marquee and on-field talisman.
They can officially begin negotiating with and signing players in December, though Mililic is understood to already be formulating the make up of the squad he aims to lead into action at the club’s Campbelltown Stadium home.
He is also thought to be piecing together his intended support staff behind the scenes.
The club’s hierarchy, which also includes chairman Gino Marra and former Sydney United powerbroker Sam Krslovic, believe Mililic will be a catalyst able to drive them forward in his first appointment as an A-League head coach, despite being previously linked with a bid to repatriate Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic back to his hometown.
Mililic, 45, has passed on signing an extension to continue with the Matildas after June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France to return to clubland.
A trusted assistant at Melbourne Heart and then Western Sydney Wanderers, the top job has eluded him - until now.
He has strong roots in the region, having both played and coached Sydney United under the auspices of Krslovic.
Mililic has been a trusted operator under the FFA umbrella since 2014, first as assistant to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou and then his successor Bert van Marwijk at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups. And also the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
His reach extends to Australia’s under age teams, with assistant and head coach roles for the Young Socceroos and Olyroos, most recently at last year's under-19 Asian Championship where the team fell short of under-20 World Cup qualification by losing to Saudi Arabia in the quarter-finals.