China League One side have unveiled Chilean Julio Cesar Moreno as their new coach. He will work alongside team general manager Ou Chuliang, who last week guided Guangdong to victory in the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup, and the former China national team coach Bora Milutinovic who will become an advisor to the club.
Last year under Zhang Jun, Sunray Cave narrowly missed out on promotion to the China Super League as they finished third in China League One, after a final day home defeat to Chongqing FC who were relegated. This was a big improvement on their 10th place finish in 2012 but owner Lin Qin specifically cited Beijing Guoan and Shandong Luneng as Chinese clubs who had changed coach despite having good seasons.
Julio Cesar Moreno was previously head coach of Kitchee in Hong Kong’s first division and latterly of Qatar’s under-23 team, but the majority of his experience is as an assistant coach under Bora Milutinovic. The Serbian, who started his coaching career in 1977, and Carlos Alberto Parreira are the only men to have led five different teams in the World Cup. The only time Milutinovic failed to take his team to the second-round was in 2002 when, with Cesar as his assistant and Ou Chuliang as his reserve goalkeeper, Milutinovic took China to its only World Cup. Milutinovic, with Moreno as his assistant, has subsequently coached the national teams of Honduras, Jamaica and Iraq.
At Sunray Cave their roles will be reversed though with Moreno as head coach and Milutinovic as an adviser when they start work on January 10th. The Chilean is on a one-year contract which the club have the option to extend for a further two years if they satisfied with his performance.
Moreno will have responsibility for signing foreign players and with none confirmed for next season and both Chan Siu Ki and Leung Chun Pong rumoured to be returning to Hong Kong he will have a lot of options.
The club are yet to confirm whether they will return to the Provincial People’s Stadium in Guangzhou for the 2014 season or will remain in Foshan where they attracted larger crowds for their final five home games of the 2013 season.