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Sydney FC axe football director as Petratos leaves club for Malaysia

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Dominic Bossi

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Sydney FC wielded the axe on football director Gary Cole on Monday after the club's goalless draw with Melbourne Heart.

Incoming coach Frank Farina will not begin coaching the senior team until Tuesday's training session but has already begun making changes at the underperforming club by agreeing with chief executive, Tony Pignata, to remove Cole from his position.

The news of Cole's axing was followed by the announcement young striker Dimitri Petratos would leave the club to play in Malaysia.

Gone ... Dimitri Petratos (left) during a training session with Sydney FC.

Gone ... Dimitri Petratos (left) during a training session with Sydney FC. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Sydney FC said that Cole's role within the club was surplus to requirements and can be adequately fulfilled by both Farina and Pignata.

“Sydney FC has decided to make some structural changes to the football department and the position of football director has been made redundant,” Sydney FC chief executive officer Tony Pignata said in a statement. “On behalf of Sydney FC, I'd like to thank Gary Cole for the work he did in his time at the club and wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Cole was in charge of the club's off-season recruitment together with with former coach Ian Crook but under the new system, Farina will have a greater influence in shaping the squad and will report directly to Pignata.

Petratos has joined Cole in departing Moore Park and has signed a one-season deal with Malaysian club, Kelantan.

The 20-year-old striker was granted his request for a mutual termination of his contract with Sydney FC and joined the Malaysian champions on Monday morning.

Petratos was once seen as one of the brightest prospects at the Sky Blues and scored three goals in his debut season as an 18 year-old, but has struggled for game time this season.

His only appearance this campaign came in round two against Newcastle Jets but he was substituted after only 51 minutes.

The youngster was involved in a training ground spat with goalkeeper coach Zeljko Kalac on October 29 but he denies that the rift influenced his decision to leave the club.

‘‘That just happened, just the like the coach [Ian Crook] said before, it happens in every team and it doesn’t affect me in that way. It was just something that happened, a little incident and we shook hands after,’’ Petratos said on Monday.

With news that Kelantan were interested in securing his services, Sydney FC granted his request to be released, allowing Petratos to play first-team football in Asia.

‘‘The Malaysian league is a feeder league to the J-League [Japan] and K-League [South Korea], they have a lot of scouts in Malaysia,’’ his agent, James Hardy, said on Monday.

 ‘‘He’s young, he’s not coming in as an ex-European league player. He’s going to play a key role as a second striker, a number 10. Everyone here is looking after him, he’s been treated well and he’s going to get game time, that’s the most important thing.’’

The Malaysian Super League is seen as a growing competition and is attracting a host of established European veterans. Euro 2008 champion, Daniel Guiza, is on loan at Johor alongside former Lazio player Simone Del Nero.

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Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
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VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
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WEL vs NEW 16:00WS
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Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
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PER vs NEW 17:00NIB
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Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
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Round 7
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Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
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BRI vs PER 17:00SS
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Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
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Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
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NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
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Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
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Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
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Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
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Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
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Round 15
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PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
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Round 16
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Round 18
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Round 19
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NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
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Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
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WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
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