United City Football Club’s promising rebuilding project just hit its first major setback.
After announcing the return of talismanic skipper Stephan Schrock, and an injection of youth through the signings of Miggy Clarino and Pocholo Bugas, UCFC is in need of a new coach. Decorated mentor Risto Vidakovic announced on Wednesday night, August 12, 2020, that he will not call the shots for the team come the resumption of the Philippines Football League.
“I just want to inform the Filipino football fans and especially the supporters of Ceres Negros that I’m not going to be a part of the United City FC,” shared the 51-year-old on the social media platform Twitter.
“Thank you Ceres for all these years of beautiful memories”.
The development comes as a big blow to the team and its new ownership. Ever since he arrived in 2016, Vidakovic has demonstrated his Midas touch. He led Ceres-Negros to three straight PFL championships from 2017 to 2019; the ASEAN Zonal title in the 2017 AFC Cup; and appearances in the AFC Champions League’s preliminary rounds from 2018 to 2020.
In a statement dated July 23, 2020 from Eric Gottschalk, the CEO of UCFC owners MMC Sportz Asia, there were plans to retain all of Ceres-Negros key personnel as it shifts to its new identity. The Serbian native was set to become one of the team’s most important renewals.
“We are also retaining almost the entire staff around General Manager Ace Bright, and it is our intent to have Coach Risto (Vidakovic) return as the Head Coach. The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing.”
There is still no word as to what team Vidakovic shall coach next. Nevertheless, his role as the tactician behind the all-conquering Ceres team shall never be forgotten by Filipino football fans.