New Phoenix coach: ‘I tried to keep Kosta’


Wellington Phoenix have announced Dutchman Darije Kalezic as their new head coach. He spoke about his coaching career and plans for the Phoenix in this the final part of his interview with

Wellington’s new coach reveals his plans: part 1

Phoenix unveil new coaching team

What is your favoured formation?

“I like 4-3-3, but it depends on the players.

“If we have one good defensive midfielder, we play with one. If we have two good defensive midfielders, we play with two.

“If we have two good attacking midfielders, they both play. It depends on the quality of the squad.”

What is your philosophy around young players? Do you like to give them a chance?

“I really like to work with young players.

“We have a culture in Holland to give a chance to young players. The Dutch league is one of the youngest leagues in Europe and maybe in the world.

“A couple of weeks ago, Ajax played in the Europa League final against Manchester United and the average age of the team was 21.

Dutchman Darije Kalezic has been unveiled as the new head coach of Wellington Phoenix. Pic Credit: Cameron McIntosh

“We like young players and like to give them a chance and invest a lot of energy to develop young players.

“That will be the same here – I’m looking forward to working with the young, talented players in Wellington.”

Can you tell us about the recruitment you expect to do in the next 2-3 months?

“At this moment, I can’t tell you a lot about that.

“We have to settle down and see what the situation is first. Kosta Barbarouses also left us a couple of days ago.

“I think first of all we have to do some things – talk with some original staff members, talk with some players and from there make a starting point – which players we can sign, which players we cannot sign.

“These are important things so we can make a plan of what we will do.”

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Do you believe you have the contacts to bring quality players to Wellington?

“Yes, I believe that and I’m not scared about that.”

Did you have the chance to talk with Kosta Barbarouses about his decision to leave Wellington Phoenix?

“I had contact with Kosta and I tried everything I could to keep him in the squad, but the problems were much bigger [than football] and it was not possible to change his mind.”

Kosta Barbarouses looms as a major signing for Melbourne Victory after re-joining the club for the upcoming campaign from Wellington Phoenix.

What are your immediate priorities once you start work at Wellington Phoenix FC?

“My priority is to meet the people inside the organisation – I have met some already – who are important to Wellington Phoenix FC.

“I think structure is the first thing that has to be settled down.

“A good organisation will create a good structure and I’ll do that with the board and the staff.

“From there we will hopefully create a good squad which will give us the best chance for results in the A-League.”

What is your message to Wellington Phoenix fans?

“I have left my career in Europe for a career in Wellington with the Phoenix in the A-League.

“For me, that was a tough decision but I came here because I believe in this huge challenge.

Wellington Phoenix are close to announcing a new head coach for next season.

“I’m going to work very hard with all the people around me to develop the club and the performance of the club.

“My message to the fans is to support us from the first day because we’re going to do everything to make our fans happy.”