Serbia announced the appointment of Dragan Stojkovic as its new coach on Saturday, in the hope that the former player can lead the national team to qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
Stojkovic, 55, will succeed Ljubisa Tumbakovic who was sacked in December after Serbia failed to qualify for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
Marko Pantelic, the deputy head of the Serbian Football Federation (FSS), told local media that although “technical issues are yet to be resolved”, Stojkovic would be officially presented next week.
“The deal has been struck, Dragan Stojkovic is the new head coach of Serbia’s national team”, Pantelic told Tanjug news agency.
Stojkovic made 84 appearances for the former Yugoslavia’s national team between 1983 and 2001, and was one of the first top-tier European players to venture into Japanese football.
The midfielder spent eight years at J-League side Nagoya Grampus Eight, where he played under Arsene Wenger.
Upon his retirement, Stojkovic briefly served as chairman of Red Star Belgrade, before turning to coaching. He returned to Nagoya as coach and between 2016 and 2020 he was in charge of Chinese side Guangzhou.
Serbia, who were eliminated in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Ireland, Azerbaijan, and Luxembourg in their 2022 qualifying group.