He is succeeded by the former Socceroo centre-back Kisnorbo, who first joined Melbourne City as a player in 2013 having spent a decade in Europe playing in the Championship, League One and the Scottish Premier League for Leeds United, Leicester City and Hearts. He began his senior career in the NSL with South Melbourne, where he spent three years.
Kisnorbo went on to become captain at City and after retiring as a player, joined the club’s coaching staff, first with the youth team, before leading the women’s team to the 2018 W-League championship.
He was appointed as assistant coach to the men’s team last year, working as part of Mombaerts’ coaching staff.
“I am sad to leave Melbourne City in these circumstances, but I am so very proud of the players and what the club has achieved during my time here,” Mombaerts said.
“We have reached some incredible milestones, we have implemented an exciting way to play, and we have become a true family, playing together every week for our fans, and I have no doubt that Patrick will continue this work. The team is in safe hands under his leadership.
“I have had a fantastic experience in Melbourne and I will always remember my time here with much fondness, but I have been away from my family for a long time and now I must return to care for them in France.”
Kisnorbo has served a long apprenticeship and his ascent to the top job is a reflection of the processes adopted by CFG as it looks to develop a discernible style and pattern of play: as Kisnorbo has been part of the set-up as Mombaerts guided the club to the next step, officials see him as a logical choice to continue the work.
“Erick has taught me so much and I am extremely grateful for the way he has helped both myself and the club to develop over the last 14 months,” Kisnorbo said.
“Melbourne City is in my blood now and I am here to ensure this team continues to be a team that everyone can be proud to be a part of.”
City vice-chairman Simon Pearce paid tribute to Mombaerts for laying the foundations for future growth.
“Under Erick’s guidance, we are now playing a recognisable City brand of football and one that is ingrained within the DNA of the club.
“His dedication to the completion of that task, during COVID-19, is something we’re extremely grateful for and the onus is on Patrick and all of us to continue to build on the work that Erick has overseen.”
City’s director of football Michael Petrillo said that Mombaerts had made a huge impact on the way City played the game this season – and Kisnorbo would benefit.
“Patrick’s apprenticeship under Erick positions him perfectly to take us forward as we enter the next stage of the club’s journey.”
Meanwhile, City’s wing-back Nathaniel Atkinson has also left, joining Perth Glory.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing