BELGRADE, March 25 (Reuters) - Serbian league leaders Partizan Belgrade named former winger Zoran Milinkovic as their new coach after sacking Marko Nikolic on Wednesday, the club said.
“The club’s executive board has assessed that a new first team coach is required to achieve the objective of winning the league title,” Partizan said on their official website (www.partizan.rs).
“The board wishes to thank Nikolic for an immense contribution during his 15-month spell in charge but a unanimous vote to appoint Milinkovic in his stead was a necessity which we believe will bear fruit.”
Milinkovic, brought in from Partizan’s struggling first division neighbours Vozdovac, played for several Serbian and overseas clubs, making his biggest impact at French side Nice and Cypriots Anorthosis Famagusta.
He also managed a number of domestic teams as well as Greek side Aris Salonika before taking over at Vozdovac in 2014.
Nikolic was dismissed after three draws in five games since the 16-team first division resumed after the December-February winter break had allowed champions and bitter city foes Red Star to slash Partizan’s lead at the top from six points to two.
Although Partizan won the other two matches, they have struggled after the board sold the club’s league top scorer Petar Skuletic to Lokomotiv Moscow and Serbia striker Danko Lazovic to Chinese second division side Beijing BG.
They also axed talented 18-year old playmaker Danilo Pantic from the first team after he refused to extend his contract which expires at the end of the season. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris)