Paul Okon has taken charge of the Central Coast Mariners for the first time at the club's Centre of Excellence as he looks towards the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League season.
Unveiled as the club’s newly appointed Head Coach on Monday, Okon wasted no time getting to work with his new squad and ran his first training session this afternoon at the club’s training base.
Also on hand for the first time was Ivan Jolic who will work alongside Matthew Nash (Goalkeeping Coach), Brice Johnson (Strength & Conditioning) and Ben Cahn as Paul Okon’s coaching staff.
Jolic, who was most recently an Assistant Coach with Melbourne City FC’s Hyundai A-League set up, brings more coaching experience to the club’s football department.
Speaking to ccmariners.com.au after training, Okon expressed his excitement in finally having the chance to get out on the pitch with the Central Coast Mariners as the club’s new Head Coach.
“It feels good, it’s what I love doing the most,” Okon said. “I felt the session went very well – the players might have been a bit nervous but that’s normal with a new coach.
“Everyone’s out to impress and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.
“The players have responded really well, I have already been able to introduce components of the playing style and the reaction was what we expected.
“We want to see an improvement in every training session because we don’t have one minute to waste, everything we do between now and the first game of the season is so important to make sure that we are ready.
“Our playing style is – we want to dominate. Most coaches will give you that response but there’s a difference between saying it and putting it into practice and I’m quite confident after seeing today’s training session I get the feeling that there’s an understanding of the value I put on having the ball.
“Again, that’s something we will ram home tomorrow, the day after and certainly when we’re down in Canberra next week, to execute the playing style you need to have the ball,” Okon said.
Okon also spoke about what Jolic brings to the Central Coast Mariners
“I’ve known Ivan for a number of years and only recently he’s been an assistant coach with Melbourne City and he also came into the Young Socceroos camp to assist a couple of weeks ago,” Okon said.
“I like his football brain, we think alike, we have the same principles and I feel like he will bring a lot to this football club,” Okon said.