The Montenegrin First League season begins on Saturday with FK Sutjeska, champions for the past two campaigns, still coming to terms with the shock decision of coach Dragan Radojičić to leave the club for arch-rivals FK Budućnost Podgorica.
Under Radojičić, Sutjeska became the first side to win successive top-flight titles in the Balkan country's nascent footballing history. Having taken the Niksic team as far as he could, the former FK Grbalj and FK Rudar Pljevlja coach felt it was "time to find a new challenge". He added: "There is no bigger challenge right now in Montenegrin football than to try to restore Budućnost to the top."
Two-time champions Budućnost finished outside the top two – nine points behind Sutjeska – for the first time last term. Radojičić's task is to transform the capital outfit into title contenders once again while staying faithful to the club's policy of promoting young talent.
"We have a long-term project because we can't afford to buy players – we have to produce them," said Budućnost sporting director Nikola Jovanović. "The club spent years in limbo because the hunger to win trophies came at the expense of developing our youth academy. That policy changed last season and it will continue."
Radojičić, once a midfielder for Budućnost in a playing career that featured spells in Hungary and Greece, said: "I find this project very ambitious and exciting. Budućnost have lots of talented youngsters who showed their potential last season. It will be a pleasure to work with them and try to make them better players.
"I also know what Budućnost want domestically – to play attacking football, dominate and win trophies. If I didn't think I could make that happen, I would never have accepted the offer to come here."
Radojičić is adamant his appointment ten days before the season "won't be a handicap" and has an extra motivation to succeed. "I know the team very well and I am sure they have had a quality pre-season. I watched them against AC Omonia in their UEFA Europa League qualifying tie, which they only lost [2-0 on aggregate] because of a big difference in experience. I am very optimistic about our chances of competing for trophies.
"I played here for one season [1997/98] and didn't make a big impact. Now I want to do that as a coach."
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