Wellington Phoenix have secured the services of coach Ufuk Talay for a further two seasons.
In charge since 2019, Talay guided the Phoenix to third place – the club’s highest finish – last season.
While the New Zealand side have found it tougher this season in being permanently based in Wollongong due to the ramifications of COVID-19, they remain in contention to again play finals football.
Wellington Phoenix chairman Rob Morrison said retaining Talay beyond this season had been a priority.
“Uffy has been a key part of the Phoenix’s success last season, both the with players he’s bought in and the structure he’s put in place as coach,” Morrison said.
“It’s an appealing style of play for players and fans, and it wins us games – something we need to keep doing if we’re to achieve the club’s goal of winning the A-League.
“The club gave Uffy his first professional coaching position and he has repaid the faith we’ve shown by signing on for two more years.”
Talay, who had been linked with a move to Melbourne Victory before the Victorian club opted for Tony Popovic, said there were several factors in his decision to stay with the Phoenix.
“The biggest thing for me with my decision was having being here for two years already, already having a great relationship with Rob, the board, the club and of course the fans,” the former Young Socceroos coach said.
“What we achieved in season one (was a factor), while season two has been a more challenging one for myself and for the players, but we’ve still played a great brand of football, we’ve been very competitive and we’re still in the mix for finals football.
“I was always here with a plan to be here for a while. I think it’s important to have longevity with a club and so to sign on for another two years is great for myself, and also for the club in terms of both that stability and consistency for the future.”
The Phoenix play in New Zealand for the first time this season on Saturday when they host Western United in Wellington.