Nikola Kavazovic now has exactly half a season – 15 league matches – to ensure Free State Stars stay clear of the drop zone. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

BETHLEHEM – Free State Stars appointed Serbian national Nikola Kavazovic as their new head coach on Thursday.

Ea Lla Koto won the Nedbank Cup last season, and finished in sixth position on the league standings under coach Luc Eymael.

Eymael was linked to the vacant Kaizer Chiefs job during the off-season, but ended up remaining at Stars, only to depart the club in early November after a poor run of form had seen them dropping down towards the foot of the table.

David Vilakazi and Selaotse Mosala were announced as caretaker coaches, but have been unable to turn things around, with the Bethlehem-based side currently just two points above the relegation zone.

Kavazovic, who had himself been linked to the Amakhosi hot seat earlier this year, now has exactly half a season – 15 league matches – to ensure Stars stay clear of the drop zone and try to defend their Nedbank Cup crown.

Kavazovic has spent bulk of his coaching career in Serbia, but in the last few years has worked across the globe, including Sri Lanka, Laos, the Maldives, and more recently Township Rollers of Botswana, as well as a very short stint at AFC Leopards in Kenya.

“We really took our time in searching for the new coach. We made sure we chose the right man for the job,” said Free State Stars general manager Rantsi Mokoena.

“The coach brings vast experience to our league, having coached Botswana’s Township Rollers and recently for the very first time in their history, Rollers qualified for the Champions League.

“He is a strong believer of youth players, and what I also liked about the coach is that when he was introduced to the players, he knew their names.”

The 43-year-old Kavazovic has signed a 30-month deal, and will be assisted by Vilakazi and Mosala.

Stars’ next game is against Bidvest Wits at Goble Park on January 5.

African News Agency (ANA)