- Justin Grimm
Ulaanbaatar City Names Vojislav Bralušić New Head Coach
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Earlier this week it was announced that UEFA A-licensed Serbian Vojislav Bralušić has been named head coach of Ulaanbaatar City FC effective immediately as the team prepares for its 2020 AFC Cup qualifying campaign.
Bralušić is no stranger to Mongolian football at the club or international level. He first arrived in Mongolia in December 2011 when he was offered an initial one-year contract to create and lead a youth academy for Deren Sumida FC. He was controversially released by club chairman Takashi Morimoto in July 2012 because of accusations of physical aggression and racist remarks. Bralušić stated in a March 2019 interview with MNB World that he had signed a six month contract and simply decided to go his separate way and return to Serbia at the expiration of it.
After returning to Serbia to coach FK Rad of the second division in 2011 and 2012, he returned to Mongolia in 2012 to coach Erchim FC where he won the league championship. He stayed with the club until July 2014 when he was appointed manager of the senior men's national team. After three matches in charge (1-0-2) he left the post to become manager of Premier League club Deren FC in July 2015.
It is from his time at this club, which is known for its prowess in developing youth players, perhaps that Bralušić is most well known. However, after four steady seasons he departed the club to take the same position at ambitious MPL club Anduud City FC ahead of the 2019 season.
That one season did not go as planned for the European, however, as Anduud City finished in 8th position in the 10-team league and one place above relegation. As previously reported by Mongolian Football Central, Anduud City underwent a change in ownership during the season which saw many players depart the club over unpaid wages following the final matchday.
Therefore, it is no wonder the Serbian, with his plethora of experience despite being only 39, would depart the club also. The chance of coaching the Premier League's reigning champions and guaranteed continental football was too much to resist.
Ulaanbaatar City FC, however, needed to release last year's head coach Donorovyn Lümbengarav to free the position. It is unclear who exactly initiated the departure, the coach or the club. However, it is a bold choice to let go of a manager after leading the club to its first-ever league championship. Lümbengarav had actually won two league titles in three seasons as he was in charge of Arvis FC during the 2017 season which saw the club finish as champions of the 1st League and earn promotion.
Bralušić has already put his Serbian touch on the club, signing compatriots Igor Grkajac, Srđan Simović, and Jovan Zucović to fill three of the team's four foreign players slots before the close of the January transfer window.
Before coming to Mongolia, Bralušić's playing career, which included time with the former Yugoslavia youth national teams, ended early because of injury. At the age of 22 he earned his coaching qualifications and managed at FK Lokomotiva Beograd in the Serbian third division from 2003 to 2010, including head coach of the first team from 2009 to 2010.
He has also served as assistant coach of the senior national team on several occasions and lead the under-16 team in 2016 AFC Championship qualification in 2015.
Bralušić's coaching staff will also include 34-year-old Deren FC defender and current captain of the senior men's national team Bayasgalangiin Garidmagnai as an assistant.