Branko Culina tipped for A-League role

FORMER Jets coach Branko Culina and one-time captain Paul Okon are among the candidates to head up a new Western Sydney A-League franchise.

Football Federation Australia has called a press conference for 2.15pm today where it is expected to announce that Western Sydney will replace Gold Coast United in the A-League next season.

Recruitment of players and a coach is set to begin immediately.

Culina has been linked to the role of technical director, the position he had at the Jets before taking over as coach for the 2009-10 season.

The veteran mentor, who was controversially sacked by Jets owner Nathan Tinkler three days before the start of this season, has vast experience in western Sydney having coached Sydney United and Sydney Olympic.

Okon and former Socceroo Tony Popovic, currently assistant coach at English second tier side Crystal Palace, head the list of potential coaches.

The former Socceroo captain led the Jets in their second campaign and was short listed for the coaching position which went to Gary van Egmond this season.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy has been pushing for a team in the game’s heartland for the past three years.

After failing to find a financial backer, the FFA will fund the new club themselves, backing their belief that western Sydney is a huge untapped market for the sport.

Future plans are to establish a community model of member investors as opposed to one owner.

More to come

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