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Ljubinko Drulovic to take charge of Serbs for Ireland game

Updated: Friday, 14 Feb 2014 20:37 | Comments

Ljubinko Drulovic in action in a European Championships qualifier against Ireland in 1999
Ljubinko Drulovic in action in a European Championships qualifier against Ireland in 1999

Former international winger Ljubinko Drulovic has been named Serbia's acting coach and will be in charge for the friendly against Ireland in Dublin on 5 March.

"The Serbian Football Association (FSS) has appointed Drulovic as acting coach until a permanent one is named, most probably in late April or early May," the national association said on its official website.

"This is the best possible solution because Drulovic has earned his chance after achieving the historic success of winning the European under-19 title last year."

Drulovic scored three goals in 38 appearances for the former Yugoslavia and spent a combined nine years at Portuguese rivals Benfica and Porto, where won a total of five league titles and four cups.

After several low-key coaching jobs, he rose to prominence when he guided Serbia's unheralded under-19 side to a shock success at the 2013 European championships in Lithuania.

Drulovic's no-nonsense approach combined with a father-figure respect he earned among the players during the tournament could leave him as the prime candidate for a permanent deal after a plethora of other candidates made themselves unavailable.

Sinisa Mihajlovic, who failed to lead Serbia to the 2014 World Cup, turned down FSS president Tomislav Karadzic's appeal to return in a dual role after taking over at Serie A side Sampdoria in November following his acrimonious split with the national team.

Aleksandar Stanojevic, who had a relatively successful two-year spell in the Chinese first division, made a U-turn earlier this week after he seemed poised to take over while Dragan Stojkovic and Ljubisa Tumbakovic also snubbed the offer.

Meanwhile, the FAI have declined to comments on reports that Ireland will play Portugal in a friendly in New Jersey on June 10.

The MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, which recently hosted the Super Bowl, advertised details of the game on its website.

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