THE Monaro Panthers have moved swiftly to replace departing coach Frank Cachia, signing former Tuggeranong United boss Martin Lategui for next season.
Cachia confirmed to The Queanbeyan Age earlier this week that he has accepted a position at Technical Director of Football at Canberra Olympic next season.
The move brings an end to Cachia’s two-year co-coaching partnership with Monaro technical director Njegosh Popovich.
The duo has guided the Panthers Premier League outfit for the past two seasons, missing the finals on both occasions.
Popovich acknowledged Cachia’s decision to jump ship had come as a surprise. But he said the club had secured the perfect replacement in Lategui.
“I think this is a case of when one door closes, another one opens,” Popovich said.
“I wish Frank all the best and it’s great that he’s going on to bigger and better things because that’s what we’re about as a club, not just developing players but coaches as well.
“Martin is a highly accredited coach and as soon as I heard Tuggeranong wasn’t offering him a position next year, I jumped on him. I think he’s going to be a massive loss for them to be honest next season.”
Lategui took over the reins at Tuggeranong midway through last season after the club sacked former head coach John Bull.
He promptly helped guide the club to its first trophy in 19 years as Tuggeranong won its way through to a shock Federation Cup title.
Less than 24 hours later however, Lategui was told his services would be not be required at the south Canberra club in 2014.
Cachia, meanwhile, said his decision to join Olympic had been a long time coming after being first approached by the club at the start of the season.
And he said the opportunity to take on a more wide ranging coaching role at the reigning Premier League title holders had proven impossible to resist.