Those who had watched the recent Turkey-Bosnia match which was played in İstanbul may remember: Bosnian players “acting” like playing, apparently without any wish to struggle, and Turkey scoring only one goal without any intention to afflict Bosnians. The headline of the Hungarian newspapers was; “ETERNAL BROTHERHOOD” referring to the antipathic “Scandinavian brotherhood”.
The 1-0 result was the best for both Bosnians and Turks. Turkey had managed to go for EURO 2008 and it was a resonable defeat for Bosnians, against Turkey in İstanbul hell. All of the Bosnians that I have talked in Sarajevo were confident about the result fort hey did not avoid Turkey’s involvement in EURO 2008, and 0-1 was not an ashameful result.
C’est la vie! Turkey is again in the same group with Bosnia for FIFA 2010 and the first match will be played in Turkey. But, will Bosnians act like playing again?
A PACK OF PROBLEMS: BOSNIAN NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM
Being one of the important inheritor of Yugoslav football ecolé, Bosnia could not managed to succed in football since the war. The most evident reason behind this is the lack of normalization of the relations between the ethnic groups in Bosnia since Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995. It has got its reflections in the sphere of football as well. Each football team in Bosnian league represent one of the ethnic groups. The balance is very fragile. In a way, there is an unwritten rule of rotation system: If one year a Bosnian Serb team is champion, then the next year is Bosnian Croat team, and the next year is the turn for a Bosnian Muslim team. Lack of disintegration does not only decresases the level of quality of football in Bosnian league, but also it negatively effects the national football team.
However, there is even a more dramatical problem: Corruption. N/FSBiH (Nogometni/Fudbalski Savez Bosne i Hercegovine - Football Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, shıortly recalled “Savez” by fans) is recognized as a haven. This is has been subject of many protests in Bosnia. We can even argue that, protest demonstrations against Savez may be called as the most serious opposition protest movement in Sarajevo. Graffitis against Savez can be seen everywhere in the country. Bosnians fans became famous by halting the matches of Bosnian national team by their protests.
This situation end up with a negative stand of Bosnian players towards playing in the Bosnian national football team. Those Bosnian players who play in West European football leagues boycott the national team. The reason behind this is the told to be bribery which is asked from players to play in the national squad. Bosnian national squad, which started the group matches for EURO 2008 like a thunder did not have any success except a victory over Norway in Oslo and over Turkey in Sarajevo.
However, recently in July 2008 some changes had happened in Bosnia.
THE BILL FOR THE EX-TRAINER!
The ex-trainer Fuad Muzurovic who is a recognized feature by Turkish fans since he had been training Adanademirspor in 1987-1990 and Adanaspor in 1998-1999 was found to be guilty because of the results. After Muzurovic, Meho Kodro, 41 years old, who had a succesful career in football as a player in teams like Barcelona, Deportivo, Vitoria but surely inexperienced as a trainer became the new boss of Bosnian national squad. After some problems with the Savez, he also had to leave his job. Bosnia was shaked by a news in July 10. Miroslav Blazevic, nicknamed as “Ciro” (spelled as “cheero”) would be training the national squad for the group matches of FIFA 2010!
WHO IS CIRO?
Being 73 years old, Ciro is a member of “grandfather” ecolé in football. In many occasions, he remarks that he had not been a brilliant player when he was playing football. That is why he started his training career in an early age. When he was 33, he started to train FC Vevey in Switzerland and then in Sion and Lausanne. Then he found himself as sub-trainer of Swiss national squad.
He returned back to his homeland Yugoslavia to train Dinamo Zagreb. In the third season Dinamo managed to be the champion, which was their first after 24 years, making Ciro a hero. Increasing political tension in Yugoslavia had its effects on Ciro’s career as well. He trained different teams in Yugoslavia and Europe like PAOK, Grasshopers, Pristina, Nantes. He was sacked from Nantes when it was understood that he was involved in bribery, which implied the end of his career.
Spending time with the political figures of those years, Ciro was supporting the Croat nationalist leader Franjo Tudjman and he was assigned as trainer and general manager of Tudjman backed Dinamo Zagreb. With the championship in 1993, Croatian Cup in 1994, Ciro proved his quality again and was assigned to be the trainer of the Croatian national squad.
THE HERO WHO MADE CROATIA WORLD’S 3rd BEST TEAM
Ciro Era is recognized as the ever best period of Croatian national squad. They involved in EURO 96 in England with considerable succesful results. But, the real sansational success came 2 years after in FIFA 98 in France: Croatia, having sympathy of every football lover with their interesting red-white-squared jerseys became the 3rd in the toyurnament. But, this success did not bring luck for Ciro. He beganm to travel from that team to this team again. First Iran national squad, than Dinamo Zagreb. After being assigned to be trainer for Hajduk Split -fatal rival of Dinamo Zagreb- the man of sansations became subject of hatred of both sides. The 8-0 aggragate defeat of Hajduk against Hungarian Debrecen was the end of his career in Split, and was even marking the end of his career. When he was working on permanent contracts with different small clubs, he was surprisingly ask for a contract. Ciro who was born in Travnik, a city in Bosnia, was recalled by hiss homeland. He accepted.
PEACE WITH FOOTBALL PLAYERS, PEACE WITH BOSNIA
The first thing Ciro wanted to do in the team was to establish unity. He contacted with those players who refused to play in national squad. The new trainer brought a new atmosphere and 7-0 victory over Estonia did not only motivated players but also Bosnians who were hopeless about national squad previously. Bosnians became more interested in national team since there was a new trainer who was popular and known to be a successful one.
Moreover, bing a Bosnian Croat, Ciro has a potential to be figure of unity in Bosnia-Herzegovina. For example, in summer 2007 Bosnia played a friendly game against Croatia in Sarajevo. During this match, the fans of Croatia were mostly Bosnian Croats and a considerable part of did come from Travnik, homeland of Ciro. Now, it is expected that not only Bosnian Croats’ but also Bosnian Serbs’ attitude towards the national squad will change positively.
3-5-2 and CIRO
Ciro’s game tactics are not alien to those who knows Yugoslav style. Basically, it requires keeping the ball in mid-field with technical capabilities and short passes, if they loose the ball they do Yugoslav faul –a type of technical faul aiming to stop rival’s attack at the very beginning of the attack. They wait for rival to offend them, and look for open spaces in the rival field. When they see that, with long balls and fast winders they attack quickly.
The expected squad to play against Turkey is:
Kenan Hasagiç (İstanbul BB)
Emir Spahiç (Lokomotif Moskva)
Saşa Papats (Glasgow Rangers)
Cemal Berberoviç (Litex),
Elvir Rahimiç (CSKA Moskva)
Zvjezdan Misimoviç (Wolfsburg),
Senijad Ibriçiç (Hajduk Split)
Miralem Pjaniç (Lion)
Samir Muratoviç (Sturm Graz).
Zlatan Muslimoviç (PAOK)
Edin Ceko (Wolfsburg)
Goran Brašnić (Inter Zagreb)
Safet Nadarević (Eskişehirspor)
Ivan Radeljiç (Energie Kotbus)
Adnan Mravats (Materzburg)
Dario Damjanoviç (Luch Energija)
Sejad Salihoviç (Hoffenheim)
Mladen Bartoloviç (Hajduk Split)
Vedad İbişeviç (Hoffenheim)
Admir Vladaviç (Žilina Bratislava)
“IF WE ARE ON OUR DAY, NO ONE CAN STOP US!”
Ciro made an interview with journalists in Sarajevo on October 7 and said that no one can stop them if they will be on their day. He told that, last week he watched some of his players who are playing in the football leagues of different countries. He told that, as far as he observed all of his players are in good form and he is very happy because of that.
He expressed that especially Misimoviç and Muslimoviç are at the peak of their performance. But he is just a little bir afraid of injuries. It will be certain for Muslimovic –Wolfsburg’s star player- whether if he will play or not,, only in the last day.
SPAHIÇ: DRAGON OF BOSNIA
Ciro, emphasizing the fact that Bosnian squad is in a family atmosphere which had never been observed before until know, said that the forward players are at the peak of their form, but the only problem may be in defence. He added that he trusts their captain Spahiç. Spahiç has also got some minor injuries, which will not avoid him to play in İstanbul. He recalls his captain as “maj od Bosne – The Dragon of Bosnia”. As it is known, “Zmaj od Bosne” was the nick name of Kapetan Gradaşçeviç who leaded the uprising against Turks in 1831 in Bosnia.
Bosnian squad came to İstanbul on Friday night (October 10)
BOSNIAN FANS COME AS WELL
According to Bosnian Football Federation, 400 tickets of 1600 reserved for Bosnian fansa re sold. Most of those fans will benefit from Istanbul’s fantastic autumn and watch the match at the same time. Azra and Emir Bektasagic are two of them. They want to use this opportunity for a second honeymoon at the 11th anniversary of their marriage. Azra was in London during the war and she says her best friends were Turks in London and Turkey had always had a special place in her hearth. She says that her elder son learns Turkish and positive emotions towards Turks is valid for every Bosnian, and she adds “But we come to Turkey to beat you on the field!”. Azra admits that every Bosnian is excited about the match and says that the match will be like a match between two brothers, and they will not be sorry for a defeat, but she summarizes the situation: “Everybody would like to defeat his brother!”. Azra and Emir say that Bosnia had lived through difficult years since the war and they need successes in that kind of areas, that is why Bosnians need that victory more than Turks.
CIRO’S WISH FROM BOSNIAN FANS: “DO NOT WEAR TURKISH JERSEYS!”
It is very common to see jerseys of Turkish football teams in Bosnian stadiums. Bosnian fans frequently select jerseys of Turkish teams which is closer to their team’s colors. Last summer, I saw one of the fans of Sarajevo having scarf of “Boluspor” who plays in the second division of Turkey. Bosnians do also enjoy to celebrate victories of Turkish national squad. After every important victory of Turkey, the old city center of Sarajevo “Başçarşı” resembles the city center of Istanbul. Ciro warns Bosnians who have a tendency to wear Turkish jerseys or scarfs in their own national matches: “We are playing against Turkey. Please just only wear colors of Bosnia”.
BOSNIAN FANS: “FIRST WE WILL SURPRISE TURKS, THEN DEFEAT THEM!”
Around 50 members of BH Fanaticos – the fan group of Bosnian national team will be watching the match as well. They ague that the match is important fort hem and they will feel themselves like they are in thier second homeland: “Turkey is our second home. So, the match will be like a game between two brothers. But, we will be the winning side.”.
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