| 16.5°C Dublin

Dundalk 'kamikaze mission' for Gio'


SURPRISE ROLE: Filippo Giovagnoli

SURPRISE ROLE: Filippo Giovagnoli

SURPRISE ROLE: Filippo Giovagnoli

Italian Filippo Giovagnoli, the shock successor to departed Dundalk boss Vinny Perth, has described his new role as a "kamikaze mission" and urged friends to "pray" for him.

The news that Giovagnoli is set to arrive on a short-term deal has left players and staff at the League of Ireland champions scratching their heads.

He will be assisted in his first senior management role by his compatriot Giuseppe Rossi with the duo having worked together at a New York junior soccer academy.

Giovagnoli (49) spent his playing career in the Italian lower leagues, but coaching commitments have taken him to America where he worked for AC Milan on their summer camps.

In 2014, he was appointed director of coaching for Metropolitan Oval, an academy that is affiliated with MLS side New York City FC.

It's understood that Dundalk's principal owners, Peak6, have a good relationship with the company that runs the academy.

However, Giovagnoli's appointment also appears to have surprised the man himself and his football network in the US.

In messages seen by the Irish Independent, Giovagnoli told friends that the news was "crazy but is true" likening the task with a 'kamikaze mission'.

He flew in from Rome last night along with Rossi with Dundalk keen to find solutions from a green list country at short notice.

The hierarchy had sounded out other candidates in the aftermath of Perth's exit with Robbie Keane turning down an approach.

Former Ireland international Mark Kennedy also had discussions about the role that came to nothing.

The reasons behind Perth's exit have become a source of considerable debate. He knew his fate was sealed before the Champions League exit to Slovenian side Celje last Wednesday and has refused to deny persistent speculation that there has been boardroom attempts to influence team selection.

Chairman Bill Hulsizer - the father of Peak6 founder Matt - has become the strongest administrative voice at the club and has made his presence felt in the area of recruitment.

Former American international Josh Gatt was signed off the basis of an ESPN interview that was read by Hulsizer.

The owners were also keen to bring players from the US collegiate system to Oriel Park. Harvard player Taner Dogan was around the Dundalk group but is now at Athlone.

They have been joined in Ireland by Dane Lind and German Giammattei who have a background with Amherst College in the third tier of the NCAA system. Amherst is better known for its academic profile as opposed to its sporting prowess. Matt Hulsizer is an Amherst alumni.

The younger brother of English winger Nathan Oduwa has also landed into Ireland, with the existing players perplexed by the number of new faces arriving especially with serious question marks surrounding their pedigree and suitability for the task at hand. Similar questions are now being asked about the unknown coaching ticket.