Joksic joins Ratchaburi as competition for ACL slots heats up

Milos Joksic has joined the coaching staff at Ratchaburi as the Dragons’ bid for a place in the 2020 AFC Champions LEague (ACL) reaches a crucial stage.

The former Nakhon Ratchasima boss will work alongside Somchai Maiwilai, who guided the club to its best ever start to a T1 campaign as they won their first four matches of the year. 

But Ratchaburi’s patchy form since the resumption of the league in September has prompted the club owners to bring in some experienced help.

Joksic is best known for his four years at the Swatcats, during which time he became known for a pragmatic playing style that ensured the club stayed in the top tier.

Nakhon Ratchasima’s best finish under the Serbian was seventh place in 2018, but they finished outside the top 10 in his other three years in the northeast. 

Joksic can also call on six more years of experience in Thailand, including a spell as assistant manager at Muang Thong United in 2011 and stints as head coach of Bangkok FC and Pattaya United.

He joins Ratchaburi as their attempt to make into the Top Two at the midway point of the season falters. BG Pathum United look almost certain to seal direct qualification for the 2021 ACL group stage as they sit six points clear at the top of T1 having played 11 games of the 15.

There is one more automatic qualification place up for grabs but a scrum of teams are challenging and Port FC – third in the table having played one game fewer than Ratchaburi – currently look best placed. 

The Dragons are now in fourth place after losing two of their last three matches. While still in contention for a place in the group stage, it may be more realistic to seal one of the two playoff spots awarded to teams finishing third and fourth after 15 matches. 

Joksic will be working with a team that can call on the talents of Steeven Langil, Lossemy Karaboue and Philip Roller. But they look set to lose striker Yannick Boli to Port FC in the transfer window – a significant loss at such a crucial time. 

The new assistant begins his time at the club with a home match against Samut Prakan City on Sunday. Victory over a side sitting seven points below Ratchaburi will be expected as Joksic looks to start with a positive result.

Paul Murphy

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