NEWCASTLE Jets have appointed former Sydney FC boss Branko Culina as their new Technical Director, the club revealed today.
Culina comes to Newcastle having coached tMelbourne Knights, Sydney United, Sydney Olympic, and finally Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season.
Croatian-born Culina was also had a player with stints at Melbourne Knights, Sydney United, Blacktown City Demons, and St. Albans Saints.
He gained vital first-hand experience in Asia as coach of Sydney FC when Culina was the first man to guide an Australian club to victory in the AFC Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Shanghai Shenhua 2-1 on March 7, 2007.
Culina's side was edged out of top-spot in Group E of the competition by the narrowest of margins to eventual AFC Champions League 2007 winners, Urawa Red Diamonds.
With his familiarity in domestic and Asian football, Culina was considered the perfect candidate for the Technical Director at the club, the Jets said today.
"We see Branko as someone who can certainly add a high level of experience, professionalism, and expertise to our club," Chief Executive Officer John Tsatsimas said.
"Obviously we have ambitions not only to ensure that every possible measure is undertaken in this upcoming AFC Champions League campaign, but also looking to the future his experience in general is a very valuable asset.
"After the recent departure of Ian Crook from our ranks it was important that we acted swiftly in getting the appropriate backroom support required to move into Asia in a positive manner.
"Certainly Branko's experience in this field is invaluable for our club, and we look forward to working with him for this upcoming campaign."