Wellington coach explains his ambitions and new ethos at Phoenix

A new man in charge and a new way of doing things. That’s what Wellington Phoenix fans can look forward to ahead of their first game of the Hyundai A-League Season 2017/18 this Sunday.

Dutchman Darije Kalezic will take the reins of Wellington Phoenix in 2017/18, looking to return the club to the Hyundai A-League Finals Series for the first time in three seasons.

And he’s very clear on what he aims to bring to the Nix as they chase a Finals Series finish this season.

“When the board spoke with me they asked me to do one important thing – to increase the professional environment of the club,” Kalezic told www.a-league.com.

“It’s clear they want to take the next step with the club – a new page.

“The most important thing is to get good staff which is going to increase the professional environment, deal with the disadvantages we have and minimise them.

“The second thing is to create a team to play with our own identity.

“Our identity is to play attractive football from a solid organisation and to build a team that keeps the ball more than our opponent,” said Kalezic.

WELLINGTON PHOENIX: Goran Paracki - While not as well known as some of Phoenix's other additions, the Croatian might be the most important.

Kalezic has appointed key staff in his football department to assist in physical preparation of his side and to help provide opposition analysis.

And with Rado Vidosic as his assistant coach and six new players arriving, the Phoenix of 2017/18 are building well, even if they are something of an unknown quantity across the league.

But the new Phoenix mentor doesn’t believe the “unknown” factor gives his side a significant advantage.

“As a coach if I can make a choice to develop my own team or to [know] the strengths of another team, I will always choose the first,” he said.

“All the other coaches get the time and possibility to develop their own team better than I can develop Wellington – that’s a reality.

“Our pre-season didn’t show us one-hundred percent what our strengths and weaknesses are because we didn’t play against many A-League clubs.

“The start of the A-League will give us a clear picture of about our weaknesses and strengths, which the statistics confirm from the last ten years.

“In ten years, the Phoenix have only once won their first game,” he added.

Wellington get the chance to change that on Sunday when they host Adelaide United in their first game of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season at Westpac Stadium.

Roy Krishna says Wellington Pheonix can finish in the top two of the Hyundai A-League in season 2016/17.


Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante added: “Every year you have to be optimistic. And the biggest thing for me that shows the club is serious about being a contender is they’ve gone and signed a strong head coach. Very strong credentials and exactly what the club needed.

“And bringing in Rado [Vidosic, assistant coach] who knows the league has won championships, it fits perfectly.”