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By ESPN Staff

Popovic unveiled as western Sydney coach

Tony Popovic has been officially unveiled as the inaugural coach of the A-League's new western Sydney franchise.

Popovic signed a four-year deal after finalising talks with Football Federation Australia officials on Wednesday, putting the first major block in place as the team prepares to enter the competition in the 2012/13 season.

It comes after Popovic quit his post and was formally released as assistant coach of Crystal Palace in England.

After assistant coaching roles with Sydney FC and Crystal Palace, Popovic is taking on his first head coaching job.

He will be charged with the considerable task of building the club's squad from scratch with his immediate focus on player recruitment.

Sydney-born Popovic started his playing career with Sydney United before spells with Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Crystal Palace, Qatar's Al Arabi and Sydney FC.

He was capped 59 times for Australia in 12 years and was part of the Socceroos squad at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"I'm definitely excited, I'm honoured, privileged," Popovic said on Thursday.

"Certainly it's a great challenge, but one that I can handle.

"Hopefully I'll bring a lot of leadership. Knowing the area, growing up in the area, I know what the people of the region expect.

"They're hard-working people - they work hard for their dollar. They want to see a reflection of that in their team.

"(Hopefully) we can bring that along with a good brand of football that the A-League will be proud of, and that the people of western Sydney will be proud of."

Popovic denied he had knocked back an offer from Sydney FC earlier this week, saying he'd held no formal discussions with the club.


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