Mehmet Durakovic's club Selangor is riding high at the top of the Malaysia Super League, but the Aussie coach still harbours a desire to return to the A-League one day.
Durakovic joined Selangor in November on a three-year deal and under his tenure the club has racked up 10 wins, four draws and just three losses this season.
Selangor currently lead the Malaysian competition, two points ahead of Johor.
“It’s a dream come true really,” Durakovic told FourFourTwo. “It’s one of the biggest clubs in Malaysia.
“While they are used to success they lost about 80-85% of their players from last year so it’s a young squad with all new players.
“We’ve only been together for about four-and-a-half months but so far so good.”
Durakovic spent three successful seasons at Selangor as a player in the mid-90s.
“It’s totally different as a coach compared as a player,” he said.
“They’ve welcomed me with open arms. We’re building a team for the future and hopefully we can get a bit of success.
“We’ve had a really good start, knock on wood, things are going quite well.
“It’s unbelievable that the league is so close, one or two games, one or two slip ups and you can be back in the middle of the table.”
Former Perth Glory, Gold Coast United and Melbourne Victory defender Steve Pantelidis is on Selengor’s books and Durakovic says the stopper is doing well.
“He’s played most of the games,” he said.
“You know what it’s like with Aussie players they’ll always give 100 per cent so I am happy so far with his performance on and off the pitch.
“We’ve got four foreigners here and we can play three and one has to be on the bench, but it’s nice to have someone who you know and you know what he can do for you.”
The Malaysia Super League has been boosted by an influx of money and a number of Australian players and coaches have moved to the competition in recent times.
However coaches Ron Smith (Pahang) and Dave Mitchell (Kedah) only had short stints with their clubs.
Durakovic admits it’s a very different proposition to the A-League.
“If things go wrong, for whatever reason, they’ll always blame either the foreign players or the coach,” he said.
“And the first one to go is the coach.
“I really felt sorry for Ron Smith and Dave Mitchell, and now Steve Darby’s gone as well. I’m the last one sort of left.
“It’s different here. You lose a couple of games and the spotlight’s on you, especially if you’re at the big clubs.
“Basically coaches come and go and players come and go.
“Money’s no object to them so if you don’t do well your head’s on the chopping block.
“That’s the job that we’re in and honestly for foreign coaches here you have to have a bit of success or do well or they’ll get somebody else.”
Durakovic only spent a year as the head coach of Melbourne Victory before being sacked but the 48-year old is keen to have another shot at the A-League.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“I watch games every week. I always keep in contact. That’s what my dream is, to come back to Australia and coach back in the A-League.”
Durakovic kept a close eye on the 2013-2014 A-League campaign and remains a strong supporter of former Socceroo teammate and current Victory coach Kevin Muscat.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said.
“It’s great to see the league getting bigger and bigger. Muskie weathered the storm and he believed in what he was doing and his players to his credit.
“I’ve known Kevin all my life. I knew he’d bounce back and he has bounced back like a true professional.
“And he can only get better and better now. He’s done a fantastic job at Melbourne Victory.”