Hume United’s FFA Cup campaign is over after one match, after a hard-fought 1-0 loss to East Brighton on Saturday.

Entering the competition in the second round, after a bye in qualifying and round one, United was looking forward to taking to the field. East Brighton scored in the opening half, and it would be the only goal for the game.

Speaking before the match, United secretary Mutlu Oztas said it had been a positive off season for the side, which started with the appointment of a new coach.

Zeljko Popovic, who has played soccer across the world, was appointed coach of the FFV state league 2 north-west side in November.

Since retiring, Popovic has stepped into coaching, including at Preston Lions and National Premier League side Spring White Eagles last season.

Omer Kurucu, who was the reserves coach, has been appointed assistant coach.
Oztas said Popovic’s appointment had brought a lot of excitement to the club.

“He’s very well known in the football community and we’re excited to have him on board,” he said.

“He’s from a Serbian background and played a lot of soccer in Europe. He was one of four or five applicants and we thought he was the standout.

“He’s really brought into the club.”

Oztas said they would have a stronger side than they had last year, when they finished fourth and six points from promotion.

He said they had kept most of last year’s squad and have looked to strength it. The FFV season gets under way on March 24.

The club has signed goalkeeper Wesley Coles, Peter Constantinou and Aleksandar Mirchevski.

Murat Demirdes, Ismet Balta, Mertkan Ilhan, Cemal Kaymakci and Leevone Koydovski have been promoted to the senior list.

“The squad we have this year is definitely stronger than the squad we had last year,” Oztas said. “We managed to keep a lot of our key players like our skipper Enes Gurkan. It’s a pretty strong squad.

“The major difference in the club is the professionalism. We see ourselves as one of the teams looking at promotion.” Oztas said the atmosphere around the club was good and it was starting at the top with president Akin Akin, with everyone buying into his vision.

In other results, Epping City defeated Lara United 6-0, Craigieburn City defeated St Kevins Old Boys 4-1, La Trobe University lost to Mooroolbark 2-0 and Whittlesea United defeated Dandenong Warriors 1-0.

Lalor United will face North Caulfield on Tuesday night in their round two clash.

The draw for the third round of the FFA Cup, was due to be held on Monday.