Balestier appoint former player Kraljevic as new coach

The 48-year-old started out for the Tigers in the inaugural season of the S.League before turning to coaching after retirement and will replace Darren Stewart
Balestier Khalsa have named Marko Kraljevic as the new man to take over from former head coach Darren Stewart for the 2014 S.League season.

The Croat, who played for the Tigers as an attacking midfielder from 1996 to 1998, possesses a Uefa A License and will take charge of a S.League side for the first time.

The 48-year-old's appointment was confirmed by club chairman S. Thavaneson last Thursday and he will be assisted by new Prime League coach D. Tokijan, also an ex-player.

Kraljevic, who has previously played in Malaysia for Kelantan and Hong Kong side Rangers, as well as Tampines Rovers and Jurong FC. He retired in 2001 before embarking on a coaching career, starting with Jurong's Centre of Excellence (COE) before moving on to the COE of Paya Lebar Punggol and Balestier, then the Prime League sides of Balestier and Woodlands.

The new coach will have his work cut out in improving the Tigers' fortunes, whom Stewart led to their best-ever finish of fourth in the league and a first major trophy in the form of the League Cup last season. The Australian is now in charge of Woodlands Wellington.

The Tigers have retained 13 players from last season, including key players Park Kang Jin and Paul Cunningham. They have also signed defender Sofiyan Abdul Hamid from Home United, as well as National Football Academy Under-18 winger Hanafi Akbar.

Club top-scorer Qiu Li has joined Home, while midfielder Tengku Mushadad has moved to Tanjong Pagar United.