Jelušić vows to add rare Ser­bian touch to PSL

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

There is a new Serb in the league and he has promised to de­liver where his coun­try­men have fallen short.

Ve­selin Jelušić is the lat­est ad­di­tion to the grow­ing list of coaches from the eastern Euro­pean coun­try to try their luck in the PSL.

With more than 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence on the con­ti­nent, Jelušić feels he can make a name for him­self in the league af­ter join­ing Bloem­fontein Celtic with a two-year deal.

He says that, af­ter get­ting pos­i­tive feedback from for­mer Or­lando Pi­rates coach and coun­try­man Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vić, he is sure he has made the right choice.

“I had of­fers on the ta­ble from other coun­tries, but af­ter what Mi­lutin told me about the po­ten­tial here, I had no doubt,” said Jelušić.

Now that he has the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the league first-hand, he wants to make his mark.

How­ever, he suf­fers no il­lu­sions about the tough chal­lenge await­ing him.

Fol­low­ing last sea­son’s be­low-par per­for­mance in front of goal, Jelušić’s top pri­or­ity will be to im­prove the strik­ing depart­ment. Celtic scored the low­est num­ber of goals last sea­son – 16 – and fin­ished 12th on the ta­ble, just a point above the play-offs spot.

This week, Celtic ac­quired the ser­vices of for­mer Plat­inum Stars striker Ndu­miso Mabena in an ef­fort to bol­ster their at­tack.

They have also signed Lucky Baloyi, who was re­leased by Kaizer Chiefs, and en­tered into a swap deal with Cape Town City for the ser­vices of Given Mashikinya, with Lyle Lakay go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

“We had a prob­lem with our last third of the field and we are now working on the method­ol­ogy of im­prov­ing scor­ing skills. It is not al­ways easy to get good scor­ing play­ers, but we are working on it,” said Jelušić.

“We are in the first phase of prepa­ra­tions, which is more about phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion than working with the ball. But ob­vi­ously our em­pha­sis is on our strik­ers,” the coach said.

He’s well ac­quainted with Celtic’s throng of sup­port­ers and their de­mands.

But he be­lieves he will be up to the chal­lenge of liv­ing up to the fans’ ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We want them [sup­port­ers] on our side and we will play for them as well. We have to give our sup­port­ers what they want; what they will ap­pre­ci­ate and like.” His first im­pres­sions of his new club are good and he says he can­not wait to get down to busi­ness.

“I’m happy with the con­di­tions of em­ploy­ment here and I’m look­ing for­ward to a great stay.”

He be­lieves his ex­pe­ri­ence of working in An­gola and Botswana will help him to suc­ceed in the PSL.

“This is my first job in the coun­try, but I’m not new here. I have been here be­fore with clubs from An­gola and I know the con­di­tions and the men­tal­ity of South African play­ers. I have also worked with play­ers who played here, so I have a pretty good idea of what to ex­pect.”

Jelušić hopes to suc­ceed where his coun­try­men have failed and prove that Ser­bia is home to com­pe­tent men­tors.

NEW BROOM Bloem­fontein Celtic coach Ve­selin Jelušić is ready to take his charges all the way

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