Football: Much change in Johor

Tampines Rovers' coach Nenad Bacina reacts during the Great Eastern Yeo's S-League match against Hougang United at Clementi Stadium on 12 May 2013.

Former Woodlands Wellington, Hougang United and Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina is one of three new Johor Darul Ta'zim II coaches.

In a bid to give the second-tier side a boost, Johor FA chairman Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has installed Chinese Super League-winning coach Rajko Magic as head coach.

The 59-year-old Croat will be assisted by Bacina and former Kedah coach Antonio Sisic, and the trio replace Azmi Mohd with immediate effect.

Azmi will remain on the Malaysian Premier League side's coaching panel.

Bacina, who had a stint as PDRM FC adviser in 2008, was sacked as Tampines coach midway through the 2013 Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season.

Speaking to The New Paper on Tuesday, the 42-year-old Croat declined to elaborate on his involvement with JDT II, only saying: "After leaving Tampines, I rested for a few weeks and spent quality time with my family in Croatia in the summer.


"I also focused on my Uefa Pro Licence course. I can't say much for now, but it'll be interesting to return to work in this region again."

Magic, Bacina and Sisic's first game helming JDT II will be a friendly against PKNS FC on Wednesday, while their first competitive match will be a league game against Felda United on March 7.

After a couple of sessions with the new coaches, Singapore skipper and JDT II captain Shahril Ishak told TNP: "They are vastly experienced and fun to work with.

"We have scored in every league game we've played, but it's really not easy. I can tell you the standard in the Malaysian Premier League is not far from the Super League.

"Our results have been mixed so far and I'm confident we can do better with these new coaches, as we work towards a good finish in the league and qualification for the Malaysia Cup."

JDT II are currently sixth in the MPL after five matches, five points behind leaders PDRM, who have a perfect record after four games.

Meanwhile, treble-winning coach Bojan Hodak, who once starred in the S.League as a defender with Jurong FC - has also signed for Malaysian Super League (MSL) side JDT, albeit as team manager.

The 42-year-old Croat won the MSL, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup with Kelantan in 2012, and defended the FA Cup last year, before leaving the club.

JDT are in sixth position in the MSL, one point and one spot behind Singapore's LionsXII and three off leaders Terengganu.

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