Sheikh Russel KC released their treble-winning coach Maruful Haque along with the entire coaching staff yesterday due to poor performance of the club during this season. The UEFA A licensed coach, who joined the club for his second stint in the 2011-2012 season and delivered the club an unprecedented treble -- the Federation Cup, Independence Cup and the Bangladesh Premier League -- in his second season (2012-2013), was relieved of his duties yesterday and replaced by Montenegrin coach Dragan Djukanovic, who has already arrived in Dhaka, confirmed the club's president Nurul Alam Chowdhury yesterday.
“We have decided to sack the coaching staff including head coach Maruful Hauqe on mutual understanding. The decision was taken after discussing the matter with the coaches and through full professionalism,” said Chowdhury over phone.
After delivering the treble last season, Maruf became the highest paid coach in the country's history when he was offered a contract extension for Tk 18 lakh. But he failed to deliver the same success this season after some of the big stars of the club -- including Haitian striker Sony Norde, local forwards Zahid Hasan and Zahid Hossain and skipper Mamunul Islam -- departed the club at the end of last season. Maruf brought some new foreign recruits both in the preseason and midseason windows, but their performance has been anything but convincing as the club finished the first leg of the league in sixth position on 12 points, nine behind leaders Sheikh Jamal DC. The defending champions were also knocked out at the quarterfinal stage of both the Federation Cup and Independence Cup.
“We are grateful to the coach for delivering a treble in the last season, but this season we failed to do well in the Federation Cup and neither do we have a good position in the league. What was most disappointing is the way the team performed in the recently concluded Independence Cup,” said Chowdhury.
Despite repeated attempts, Maruful could not be reached for a comment on his extermination. However, not only Maruf but his assistant coach Zulfiqar Ali Mintu and the goalkeeping coach Humayun have also been sacked as the treble-winning club are looking to reorganise the coaching staff. New coach Djukanovic, who is a 46-year-old Montenegrin with almost 12 years of experience in coaching, has already arrived in Dhaka on Saturday and attended the club's practice session.
According to information gathered, the 45-year-old UEFA A Licensed and Pro Licensed coach played for various clubs in the leagues of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Cyprus before he called time on his career in 2003 and joined coaching full time.