First Lithuanian Coach in HNL History: Valdas Dambrauskas Takes Over Gorica

Daniela Rogulj

February 26, 2020 – Gorica introduced the successor of Sergej Jakirović, who was sacked as coach after Hajduk won 6:0 at Poljud. Valdas Dambrauskas is the new coach of Gorica. reports that Croatian First League club Gorica on Tuesday unveiled a new coach, 43-year-old Lithuanian Valdas Dambrauskas, who succeeded Sergej Jakirović.

He began his solo coaching career at the Kingsbury London Tigers in the English Premier League and then led the Lithuanian cadet (U-17) and junior (U-19) national teams. This was followed by engagements at Lithuanian clubs: he led Ekranas Panevežys for one year and had three seasons at FK Žalgiris, with whom he won the Lithuanian championship twice. For the last three years, he has led the Latvian RFS from Riga.

“I know the ambitions of the club, and I worked with the current sports director of Gorica (Mindaugas Nikoličius) for three years in Žalgiris. I have watched Gorica several times and know that they have beat top Croatian teams such as Rijeka and Hajduk. The team has that potential and I want to get back on that path,” Dambrauskas said.

Gorica is currently sixth in the First HNL with 31 points. Until the end of the championship, there are 13 rounds left, with seven points separating Gorica from positions leading to Europe. Gorica has two draws and two defeats in the spring season, and suffered the worst defeat on Saturday since playing in the Croatian First League, losing 0-6 at Poljud to Hajduk. After that, coach Jakirović was fired.

“Sergej Jakirović is no longer the coach of Gorica as of today.

Our current coach has left the bench of our first team after 616 days at the helm. During this period, he led Gorizia in 61 official games. We want to thank Sergei for all that he has done for Gorica,” the club wrote on their Facebook page on Monday.

Jakirović took over Gorica that summer after Ivan Prelec left for Poland.

Gorica then had standout players like Miya, Atiemwen, Zwolinski, who are no longer in the club. Some new players have arrived, though they have not been able to achieve the same chemistry.

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