Martin Lategui, left, was sacked as Tuggeranong United coach less than 24 hours after winning the Federation Cup with the club. Photo: Jay Cronan
Tuggeranong United sensationally sacked coach Martin Lategui less than 24 hours after leading the club to its first trophy in 19 years.
While Woden Valley warmed up for the finals with a 2-0 victory against Belconnen United on Sunday, Lategui was coming to terms with his dismissal last Thursday, the day after Tuggeranong won the Federation Cup for the first time since 1994.
Despite winning the knockout competition, United collected the wooden spoon in the league after a 4-2 loss to Canberra City and won just three games all season.
Woden's Liam Walsh heads the ball. Photo: Graham Tidy
On Monday, United will announce a new coach, who will be on a two-year contract and charged with injecting sustained success into the traditional strugglers. Lategui was shocked by the news of his dismissal. ''Absolutely. Not just for that reason [winning the Federation Cup],'' he said.
''I was expecting to receive a new offer and was already in the planning stages for next year with certain members of the committee and the technical director of the club.
''They told me they want to go with someone with a higher profile, someone who can attract new players to the club next year because they want quick results.''
Belconnen United's Elliot Zwangobani, left, holds off Woden's Mitch Steenbergen. Photo: Graham Tidy
Lategui was installed as interim coach when John Bull resigned halfway through the season.
Club president Jon Thiele said Tuggeranong was ''making big plans'' for the future and needed success quickly. ''We've gone for a more senior coach for the next two years,'' he said. ''The Fed Cup win was fantastic for the club, but the Fed Cup is four games and the season is 24 games, plus finals.
''Martin is a very good coach, but we want someone who has been there and done that before. We've offered Martin a chance to still come and work for the club.''
The Tuggeranong board chose a new coach before the Federation Cup final, but decided to wait to tell Lategui until Thursday - 24 hours after the game.
The club is also keen to announce new player signings in the coming weeks. ''We can't afford to win only three games in a season again … we need success quickly,'' Thiele said.
Meanwhile, the competition's leading goal-scorer, Derek Oelmann, scored his 27th and 28th goals of the campaign as Woden beat the Blue Devils.
Woden will face Canberra Olympic in the elimination final on Saturday at McKellar Park, while the Blue Devils take on league champions Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium on Sunday, with a place in the grand final at stake.
Canberra FC celebrated its 21st league championship in style, thrashing the Monaro Panthers 9-0 and Olympic easily accounted for the Cooma Tigers 5-0.
In the under-20s Premier League, Canberra FC's Josip Jadric scored an extraordinary 10 goals in his team's 13-1 belting of the Panthers to capture the competition's golden boot prize.
Needing nine goals to draw level with the leader, Jadric hit the front with 26 goals for the season with half an hour remaining before taking over goalkeeping duties.