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Serbian champions scout ACT

They've won the past four Serbian Super Liga titles and have recently appointed former Chelsea manager Avram Grant as their coach as they shoot for a place in the UEFA Champions League.

And the Serbian super club Partizan Belgrade extended its search for future talent to Canberra last week with a coaching clinic for 70 juniors from the Woden Valley Soccer Club.

It took three years of negotiating for the club to make the one-week camp a reality, but the relationship was sealed last year when a team from Woden Valley visited Partizan's facilities for a training camp in Belgrade last year.

''[Partisan] were impressed with the guys that we had in our team and thought there was some merit in coming over here,'' Woden Valley coaching director Steve Milutinovic said. ''[Partizan] are in the business of producing so they are looking far and wide to get the next big name, so that transpired to them coming to Australia.

''We are hoping we can establish this on a regular basis and to forge links with some European clubs. That would be our dream, to offer [our players] the next level of football.''

Milutinovic said the two parties had discussed a more permanent relationship, which could also involve a player exchange program.


''We don't want this to be a one-off and then forget about it. It is not a short-term thing, it is a long-term plan that hopefully will come off,'' Milutinovic said.

The one-week camp consisted of two daily training sessions for children aged from 10 to 16 years old.

''The response from the kids was fantastic, you would have thought they'd be tired but they just kept coming back and wanting more and more,'' Milutinovic said.

The camp also provided a boost for the Woden Valley club's coaching staff, who were able to assist in the running of the camp and to learn from their Serbian counterparts' experience.