Old rival emerges as Muscat’s Victory replacement
FORMER Adelaide United boss Marco Kurz is firming as the favourite to land the coveted head coaching role at Melbourne Victory.
Melbourne City is also edging closer to an appointment, having zeroed in on a coach from continental Europe to replace Warren Joyce.
Victory's coaching panel will this week interview the last of their six-man shortlist, with former Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi understood to be the only Australian coach among them.
But Victory appears to be leaning towards a foreign appointment to replace club legend Kevin Muscat, with most of the remaining four-man shortlist emanating from Europe and owning strong CV's.
Victory were inundated with requests and the coach selection panel - which includes FFA technical director Rob Sherman and Socceroos great Mark Bresciano along with senior Victory officials - seriously considered was former Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi.
Ghotbi, who served as South Korea's assistant coach under ex Socceroos bosses Guus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek, more recently coaching Japanese side Shimzu S-Pulse and Iranians Foolad.
The coach selection panel, which includes FFA technical director Rob Sherman and Socceroos great Mark Bresciano along with senior Victory officials, appears to have decided on a foreign appointment to replace club legend Kevin Muscat.
A greater emphasis will be placed on blooding youth has been among the discussion points throughout the process, with Victory set to step up their academy efforts after falling behind their local rivals.
Melbourne City's larger investment and proposed pathways have enabled them to nab the hotter talents, as evidenced by their greater representation in Australia's youth teams.
Victory youth beat City's second team 3-2 in Sunday's National Premier Leagues second tier clash, although they played with an older side on average as they have done throughout the season.
Kurz, who curiously remained in Australia after he was released by Adelaide United, came to Melbourne for the interview and was given a tour of the club's AAMI Park facility and Gosch's Park training ground.
The German was stiff to be punted by Adelaide United, who opted not to renew his contract after making the finals both years and winning the 2018 FFA Cup and finishing runners-up the year before, all with a mid-range budget and minus a potent goalscorer.
Adelaide was denied a fairytale grand final place from fourth after a dramatic penalty shootout loss away to Perth Glory.
Aloisi, who spent time coaching Victory's youth team in between senior roles at Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar, was seriously considered for the role before Victory chiefs opted for the 'safer hands' of Kurz.