|With new Kaya head coach David Perkovic at the Emperador Stadium last night. Isn't coach a deadringer for Alaska Aces owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu?|
This appears in the Monday, March 11, 2013 edition of the Business Mirror.
Perkovic is Kaya’s new head coach
by rick olivares
On board the Qantas flight inbound from Sydney to Manila, David Perkovic’s mind was ablaze with thought.
The flight to Manila takes eight hours and the 31-year old Australian who had just recently resigned from Fraser Park FC (playing in the New South Wales Super League where it plays currently) to coach Kaya in the United Football League.
Fraser Park had given him his first professional coaching job and it was a difficult decision to leave as the club is a rising one in Australian football. While at the new South Wales side, he had former Philippine international player Leigh Gunn, the first Filipino of foreign descent to play for the national team. And there was Masanari Omura who currently plays as a midfielder/defender for Kaya. But the opportunity to coach abroad, one of the things in his bucket list, was too great an opportunity to pass up. “I know nothing about the UFL or even Philippine football,” admitted Perkovic in his first-ever interview on Philippine soil at the Emperador Stadium last Saturday night. “I had done a fair amount of traveling – Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand – but never in the Philippines. Sometimes, it is good to step out of your comfort zone.”
When Omura reconnected to intimate him about the coaching vacancy with Kaya, Perkovic mulled it over. “It wasn’t an easy decision,” said the AFC B-Licensed coach. “Any time there’s change you look at all the possible angles. But I am always interested in new opportunities. I try not to make rash judgments of things. I prefer to assess the situation before making a decision. At the same time it’s a good test for myself especially in a different culture.”
Eventually, Perkovic agreed to come to Manila and is now the seventh head coach of Kaya Football Club history (after Rudy del Rosario, Mikey Carrion, Hans Smit, Juan Cutillas, Kale Alvarez, and Maor Rozen).
It’s a storied Philippine club Perkovic is joining. Almost everyone who’s a somebody in local football has played with the club at one time or another. Kaya alums have formed other clubs from Union to the Philippine Homeless World Cup Team to Pachanga.
It is also a good for match for Perkovic who has made a name for himself as a workaholic. While inbound to Manila, he jotted down notes on what he needed: scouting reports, the transfer window, what sort of players he had, possible tactics, and more. “I had my iPod on airplane mode and just wrote down lots of stuff,” recounted the coach who is currently completing his master’s degree in sports coaching at the University of Sydney.
The Australian coach hit the ground running exactly at 6pm at NAIA. He dumped his luggage in his new digs at swanky BGC then dashed off with Kaya team manager Justin Tolentino to catch the match between Army and Green Archers United at the Emperador Stadium.
In three days’ time, Kaya will play Army. His new club is currently at sixth-place in the UFL’s Division One standings while Army is languishing at the cellar. He watches Army tie up Archers in a thrilling and eventful 1-1 draw.
After taking in a short interview, he buckled down to work as he took down notes and asked questions about both sides playing. He picks out a few players with obvious skill and asks more questions about them. He’s on work mode.
As a player in Australia, Perkovic was a number 10. The playmaker. Hence, his affinity for players like Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio, and Lionel Messi. He currently follows Xavi Hernandez and obviously is a fan of Barcelona.
That infers he opts for possession-based football. “I have ideas on what system to play but I always look into what I have at my disposal. Then I’ll build on that. But my teams always play with good tactics, play possession football with a dynamic attack.”
Perkovic was pleased that several of his new players - Chris Greatwich, Toshi Hosoe, and Omura - were on hand to meet him and help him settle down.
“On my way here (to the Emperador Stadium), I could see the area where I am to staying and where Kaya, the UFL, plays. I began to get really excited.”
The new journey has begun.