11 DARIJE KALEZIC
It’s part of the arrival routine for new coaches to spout the mantra of “playing attractive football” but Wellington’s most significant import in the off-season wants Nix fans salivating for more every week. After overcoming a dire injury hangover from last season, Phoenix players are starting to shape up and Darije Kalezic likes what he sees. It’s far from new territory for the Bosnian-Swiss Coach who has taken an active interest in the league since working with a trio of Aussies in the Eredivisie. “For us it is very important to play how our fans want to see us play… to count the days when Wellington Phoenix are going to play again,” the 47-year-old says. “We want to play not only nice and attractive football from solid organisation, but we want to play also what people like to see with the heart, and with 100% from the first minute to the last minute. “The mentality of the players is great – it gives me big confidence they will achieve all the targets that I and (assistant coach) Rado Vidosic will give them.” And with the changes taking place, Kalezic insists more players are now willing to cross the ditch to join them “because they believe in our process and they believe in our future”.
LAST THREE CLUBS: Al-Taawoun (2016), Roda JC (2015-16), Jong PSV (2013-15)