Former national football coach, Yugoslavian Zoran Vranes is set to take over at North East Stars for the coming T&T Pro League season.
Vranes who still considers himself a Trinidadian, having coached the country's senior team in 1994-1996; 2003; assistant coach in 2009-2010 and Under-20 coach in 2009-2010, is expected to sign on the dotted line over the next two days. The former head coach at Joe Public Football Club in 2001-2002 and Central FC in 2014-2015, was hesitant to offer a comment until he signs the contract. However, he told Guardian Media Sports that he is happy to be back in T&T football.
He promised to do his best to guide the pro league's defending champion team to its second title in as many years.
Vranes will work for a Board that is results-oriented and favours attractive football. The Yugoslavian is expected to be equipped with a few marquee players as well as other talented young players that have emerged from the club's youth system.
It is understood the club will also make provisions for amateur players, who are likely to come from the nation's schools, to play and be paid on a game-by-game basis.
Director of Football Michael Awai, the Arima-based team intends to revolutionise the business model of the sport in T&T and the way clubs manage its affairs.
Its foundation will be a youthful development academy at which players will be prepared to represent the club's junior and senior teams. The club's development structure will also prepare players to be shipped out to teams abroad on contracts.
The club is set to be bigger and stronger than last year, with players expected to receive all the winnings from the First Citizens Cup as a form of incentive to them. A member of the club said all efforts will be made to ensure players are treated like professionals and are comfortable.
Vranes will be in charge of all the teams and coaches. Yesterday, he painted a bleak picture of the standard of local football in T&T. He said the quality of play has dropped more than 10 years behind and he felt obligated to return to help lift the standard of local football to where it should be at present, starting at North East Stars.
He was left bemused by the disparity between T&T football and the level being played internationally.
He said, "I can't understand why we do not have a lot more players in the Leagues in Europe and elsewhere. It is very sad because when I coached here at the senior and junior levels, we had players who held their own against top teams such as the Brazil Under-20 and Paraguay etc."
According to Vranes, "One thing I know is that T&T has a lot of players with potential, but now we must work hard in all areas to ensure the standard is rise again."
1994–1996 Trinidad & Tobago
2001–2002 Joe Public F.C.
2003 Trinidad & Tobago
2003–2004 Rudar Pljevlja
2004–2007 St. Vincent & the Grenadines
2009–2010 Trinidad & Tobago (assistant-coach)
2009–2010 Trinidad & Tobago U20
2014–2015 Central FC