By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Vaselin Jelušic is tipped to take over as senior Chipolopolo national team trainer, replacing Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck who left the country early this year after six months in charge.
The Yugoslav-born but Serb national was until recently the coach of South Africa premiership side, Bloemfontein Celtic, before he resigned after administrative differences with management.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) carried out interviews with more than three coaches but sources within the soccer governing body told The Southern Times that Jelušic was expected in the country before the close of the week to take over the coaching role on a revised US$25,000 per month salary.
“Jelušic is the favourite to take over from Vandenbroeck based on his footballing credentials and he is expected to come and sign contract formalities before the end of this week (weekending 31-August), taking over from 38-year-old Belgian,” a source within FAZ disclosed.
He declined to disclose further details concerning the terms of the contract apart from confirming that Jelušic’s monthly allowances had been revised from US$10,000 FAZ offered, with the government willing to top up to boost the morale of the coach and ensure Zambia returns to its winning ways.
Others that were shortlisted for interviews included Belgian coach Luc Eymael, French coach Pierre Lechantre, who won the 2000 African Cup of Nations with Cameroon, and Croatian trainer Tomislav Ivković.
Jelušic was at the helm of the Angola national side in 1998 and later became coach of Botswana between 2002 and 2006. He was until last year coach of Bloemfontein Celtic before he resigned.
Bloemfontein Celtic’s administrative differences heightened mid last year following financial differences that beset the club, forcing Jelušic to leave the club. South African media had cited club owner Max Tshabalala as admitting the departure of Serbian and had been looking for his replacement. He could not disclose the reasons.
However, local media reports claimed Jelusic’s departure after two years with the club had been attributed to delayed wages which he had not received for three months.
“The employment agreement between Bloemfontein Celtic and myself has been terminated for the reason known to the club‚” local media cited a statement from Jelusic as saying.
Last year, Jelušic won the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month award for October and was hailed by the club for his training methods and the stability he brought to the team. He had earlier coached Inter-Clube in Angola and then the country’s national team, and later moved to Botswana where he was also national team coach.
He then spent five years working on developing the country’s youth structures‚ being credited with being behind the leap in competitiveness that the country has shown over the last decade.