Vlatko Marković’s 12-year reign as HNS president is over. The 75 year-old Marković began his tenure in 1999 and will now hand 1998 World Cup Golden Boot winner Davor Šuker the keys to the HNS bus. Although Croatia’s all-time leading scorer (45 goals) has minimal management experience at age 44, Šuker has played in some of the best systems in the world. Hopefully he can apply what he learned at Sevilla, Real Madrid and Arsenal to the Croatian national team moving forward.
But what can one man do?
It’s not Šuker’s job to put the best eleven Croatians out on the pitch. But it is his job to get the HNL back on track and keep the future of Croatian football flourishing. What will happen if the domestic well dries up? What happens if the HNL becomes even less competitive?
Most importantly, what should we expect from Davor Šuker in the next few years?
Photo: Ronald Gorsic / CROPIX
We all knew Slaven Bilić was heading north for Moscow and that his teammate from the 1998 World Cup, Igor Štimac, would replace him as Croatian coach, but now it’s official. The 44 year-old Štimac is coming in just as Bilić did in 2006, with limited coaching experience. He has only had small stints at Hajduk, Cibalia and NK Zagreb, but is bringing on golden generation player Alen Bokšić alongside former Dinamo Zagreb manger Krunoslav Jurčić as assistant coaches. Uncapped 48 year-old Zoran Varvodić will also assist as goalkeeper coach.
75% of CroatianSports nation believes that Štimac will not do a better job than Bilić did. For those of you that voted this way, please defend.
Here’s what Štimac had to say in an interview with Jutarnji during his official unveiling as ninth manager in Croatian history:
“I can say that I’m happy, it is a great honor, but also the obligation to prove to many who were skeptical that I was the right choice for that position when it comes to my appointment as the new national team coach.”
How do you see those who were skeptical of you at the forefront of the national team?
“These are mostly the same people who admired Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, but said they could not win without experience at the top. It is understandable that there are many skeptics, but I do not have time to deal with the study of their comments and statements. To me, this is a great responsibility, and it makes me very happy.”
What are your thoughts on qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil?
“It’s one of the hardest qualifying groups; all the teams have a very high ranking in the FIFA rankings, no outsiders. These are all teams that not so long ago stole points from top teams in qualifying. It’s great competition, but we must be optimistic, we must be lucky to have such a group, it will motivate us greatly.”
Thoughts on the two matches against Serbia:
“I look forward to these games, it is a sacred opportunity to win such a game.”