FK Budućnost Podgorica will restart the Montenegrin season with a dramatically revamped side after a spate of hirings and firings during the winter break.
Devastated after finishing the first season since independence without a trophy of any kind, Montenegro's most famous club went into the winter break five points adrift of champions FK Zeta. However, the team that played the final game of the autumn against FK Bokelj on 8 December will bear little resemblance to the one that lines up against FK Mladost on 23 February.
Six new players have been added to the club roster including the first South Americans to play in the independent Montenegro, defensive midielder Gustavo López, lately of Indonesian side Persela Lamongan, and winger Diego Jaime from Argentinian lower league side Excursionistas. The ranks have been further swelled with the arrivals of Under-21 international defenders Aleksandar Radović and Marko Vidović from FK Hajduk Beograd as well as forward Fatos Beciraj and midfielder Krenan Vokshi, who played in Kosovo with local side KF Besa.
While those new names were being welcomed, the club has also lost five players. Goalkeeper Mladen Božović and his Montenegrin international team-mate, right-back Risto Lakić, have both joined Serbian giants FK Partizan, Marko Mugoša is now at another Serbian side, FK Borac Čačak, FK Mogren snapped up Balsa Bozović and Nenad Sofranac became an FK Petrovac player.
"We made a lot of changes," conceded sporting director Mojas Radonjić. "We had to do that because it was obvious that we need new blood in the team. Now Budućnost have a younger team than ever before and this is not just a team for the second half of the season. This is a team for the future, but we also plan to bring in more new players in the summer."
The club's decision to change personnel so readily left many to wonder whether they might not have done better if they had not changed coaches so many times. Radonjić said: "I think that coaches take responsibility but it is strange that four coaches couldn't make a improvement with the same players. Now, we have made changes and have confidence in head coach Branko Babić. There will be no pressure on him."
Pressure, however, is a relative term, and Budućnost continue to expect great things at home and abroad. "We have five points less then Zeta and are in the Montenegrin Cup semi-finals so we are very much alive," said Radonjić. "Budućnost have to be battling for titles, but most important is to make a competitive side for European competition this summer. Both trophies in Montenegro won't mean much if we disappoint in Europe."
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