NEW Melbourne Knights coach Mirko Bazic will take the plunge and selec his own side for tomorrow’s Dockerty Cup semi-final against South Melbourne at Olympic Park, despite witnessing just three practice sessions.
Bazic arrived in Melbourne on Saturday and saw 24 players in two practice games arranged for his benefit but sees no point in delaying taking over or allowing others to select the initial team for him.
“I’ve talked to everyone I need to and I will select,” Bazic said.
“We’re playing the three best teams in Australia in my first games in charge (South Melbourne in the Cup, Marconi and Adelaide City in the opening two rounds of the Coca-Cola Soccer League) and it would have been better if I was here a month ago but the target is still to be the best.
“I know the competition is strong but I’m confident we may make a surprise with two or three strategies – tactics are always important.” Bazic, 54, has extensive coaching experience in Croatia, including three years at Dinamo Zagreb and two at Borac Banjaluka in the former Yugoslav first division. He also won the 1987 national championship in Canada with Windsor Wells.
Bazic’s confidence of his ability to do a job in Australia comes partly from his success at developing young players – he worked as youth director of coaching at Dinamo Zagreb for several years before his senior stint.
“Your playing system always depends on the type and quality of players you have but generally I like to play an attacking style of game – it’s what the spectators like and they are the basis of the game,” he said.
The Knights beat the VIS 6-1 in a friendly on Monday, a game which saw the return of Ivan Kelic after the striker’s trials in Belgium and Holland.
Striker Craig Lewis, back in Australia after three years in Scotland, also played in the game and seems set to sign for the Knights.
Former Young Socceroo Ante Juric was brought down to Melbourne for talks last week but is also considering an offer from Sydney United.
None of the triallists are likely to be signed in time for tomorrow’s game and the Knights line-up is likely to have a familiar feel with the possible exception of Mark Viduka taking over as the side’s spearhead.
South Melbourne will go into the cup-tie without Paul Wade, Mehmet Durakovic, Paul Trimboli and Francis Awaritefe who left with the Socceroos yesterday for two matches against South Korea in Seoul.
SOUTH’S recruiting target, Jason Polak is likely to ask for a tribunal case in his bid to leave Newcastle Breakers, citing a financial breach of contract.
NEW Zealand keeper Mike Utting trained with South Melbourne last night after spending the past fortnight with Brunswick.
DUNDEE’S recent recruiting splurge has convinced Lachlan Armstrong he has no immediate future at the club and he has decided to return to Australia to play in the CCSL.
Fixture details: Tomorrow night. Dockerty Cup semi-finals – Heidelberg v Morwell 6.30pm, Melb Knights v South Melb 8.20pm.
September 22nd, 1993