Okon named Central Coast Mariners coach

Former Australia international Paul Okon has been announced as coach of the Central Coast Mariners.

Paul Okon has been appointed coach of the Central Coast Mariners, the A-League outfit announced on Monday.

Okon, 44, joins the club on a two-year deal following the sacking of Tony Walmsley. 

Walmsley was let go after the Mariners crashed out of the FFA Cup round of 32, beaten by state-league side Green Gully earlier in August. 

Okon said he was excited to begin his first professional senior coaching gig as the Mariners look to bounce back following a disappointing 2015-16 campaign.

"We want to give our supporters, the people who have been loyal to this club a reason to keep coming back to Central Coast Stadium and we want to give new people a reason to come and watch this team play football," Okon said. 

"After a disappointing season we want to grow our supporter base and the only way we can do that is by playing a brand of football that's going to excite people and get people talking about our club again.

"I feel very excited and can't wait to get started. Hopefully I can bring something to the club and get the Central Coast Mariners back to where we all want them to be and that's winning football games."

Okon - a former Lazio, Middlesbrough and Leeds United player - retired in 2007 and took to coaching the following year.

The 28-time Australia international began as an interim coach at New South Wales state-league outfit APIA Leichhardt, and was then assistant to Miron Bleiberg at now-defunct A-League side Gold Coast United.

He has since been at the forefront of youth development as the Australia Under-20s coach, seeing 11 of his players go on to make senior Socceroos debuts.

Okon will run his first training session as Mariners coach on Tuesday, with the A-League season to kick off on October 7.