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09:45 11-September-2016

Croatian national coach candidates

Categories: Eastern Europe
Views: 4418


Written by: Rasmus Boysen

Who will replace Željko Babić and become the new Croatian national coach? The rumors have been many. give you the full overview.

Since the head coach of the Croatian national team, Željko Babić, resigned last Tuesday, the biggest question in the Croatian media have been who'll be the new coach. The rumors have been many and as a result of that we are trying to give you the big picture.

Lino Červar


The legendary Croatian/Macedonian head coach of the Macedonian club RK Metalurg and the Macedonian national team, Lino Červar, is according to the Croatian website one of the biggest candidates for the job. The 65-year-old coach is a legend of Croatian handball. He was the head coach of the Croatian national team from 2002 to 2010, where he brought the team to the world elite and won several medals.

Croatia won the World Championship in 2003 in Portugal and the Olympics in 2004 in Athens led by Červar. The problem for the Croatian Handball Federation is that he probably must be bought out of his contract with the Macedonian Handball Federation.


Irfan Smajlagić


The 55-year-old Croatian coach Irfan Smajlagić was the assistant coach of Lino Červar from 2003 to 2006, and has furthermore been head coach of the Croatian youth national team in a 2-year period. So he is familiar with jobs related to the Croatian Handball Federation. 

Smajlagić has alot of experience both as a player and a coach, and unlike many of the other candidates he is a free agent. It is not unimaginable that he may come to cooperate with Lino Červar (again) or with another candidate.


Slavko Goluža


The former head coach of Croatia, Slavko Goluža, who was the assistant coach of Lino Červar from 2006 to 2010 and the head coach from 2010 to 2015, is another opportunity. The 46-year-old Croatian coach was called "Mister bronze" when he won 3 bronze medals and coached Croatia in 4 semifinals.  In 2015 he chose to resign and is free on the market.

As with Lino Červar the Croatian Handball Federation must assess wether they should choose someone who knows the team or try something new.


Ivano Balić/Petar Metličić


One another legendary Croatian handball personality, Ivano Balić, had as a player a genius handball mind, and he is one of the game's brightest tacticians ever. The 37-year-old magician, who retired in 2015, is already employed by the Croatina Handball Federation as a coordinator of the Croatian youth national teams and the Croatian national team.

On the other hand he has no experience as a coach and therefore it will be a gamble. According to that's why he is not among the favourites of the Croatian Handball Federation for the job.

Just like Balić Petar Metličić has not alot of experience as a coach, but he is on the other hand a national hero. The 39-year-old has been the assistant coach of the former head coach of the national team of Croatia, Željko Babić, since 2015. "Pero" retired as a handball player in 2013.

The possibility of a national head coach duo of Metličić and Balić has been mentioned several times. They have their own Handball Camp together and are close friends. It'll still be a big gamble of the Croatian Handball Federation and seems unlikely at the moment.


Ivica Obrvan


The 50-year-old Croatian coach Ivica Obrvan has alot of experience both from club handball and as a national coach. At the end of May he extended his contract with the French club Chambéry to the summer of 2019, but it is very common to train both a club and a national team. Obrvan did that, when he coached both the Macedonian national team and Chambéry last season.


Zvonimir "Noka" Serdarušić


The Croatian/German coach Noka Serdarušić is by many seen as one of the world's toughest but also the best coaches. He has who experience as a coach, where he among others has led SG Flensburg-Handewitt, THW Kiel and the Slovenian national team successfully.

Now the 66-year-old coach is the head coach of the French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, and it is probably unrealistic that the owners of the French club let him have two jobs.


Veselin Vujovic


The head coach of the Croatian top club RK Zagreb is historic automatically a subject for the job. Veselin Vujovic is one of the best handball players the world has ever seen, and he has developed into a top class coach. Due to his job as head coach of RK Zagreb the Serbian/Croatian coach has detailed knowledge of many of the Croatian players.

The problem for the Croatian Handball Federation, HRS, is that Veselin Vujovic already is the head coach of the Slovenian national team, where he has great success and where he has a contract to the summer of 2018.


Manolo Cadenas


Never has a coach who is not originally from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia coached the national team of Croatia, but there is a first for everything. When a capacity as the Spanish coach Manolo Cadenas is free, he should be inside the considerations. It can be both an advantage and a disadvantage for him that he is not from Balkan. It may be that the Croatian Handball Federation will try something entirely new.

Manolo Cadenas is a very experienced coach, who has coached both national teams and teams from Eastern Europe. He was the national coach of Spain from 2013 to 2016. At the same time the 61-year-old Spaniard coached the Polish top club Orlen Wisla Plock.

Former national coaches of Croatia:

1990-1991: Josip Milković (Croatia) and Ivica Horvat (Croatia)
1991-1995: Zdravko Zovko (Croatia)
1995-1996: Abas Arslanagić (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
1996: Vlado Nekić (Croatia)
1996: Velimir Kljaić (Croatia)
1996: Ivan Duvnjak (Croatia)
1996: Damir Čavlović (Croatia)
1997: Josip Glavaš (Croatia)
1997-1998: Ilija Puljević (Croatia)
1998: Velimir Kljaić (Croatia)
1999-2000: Zdravko Zovko (Croatia)
2000-2002: Josip Milković (Croatia)
2002-2010: Lino Červar (Croatia/Macedonia)
2010-2015: Slavko Goluža (Croatia)
2015-2016: Željko Babić (Croatia)


On the Croatian website almost 10.000 users have voted on who they see as a new national coach of Croatia.

The result is as seen: 
Petar Metličić: 10%
Veselin Vujovic: 52%
Lino Červar: 18%
Zvonimir "Noka" Serdarušić: 9%
Slavko Goluža: 2%
Ivica Obrvan: 3%
None of the above: 6%

Also on the Croatian site there has been a vote with 15.000 users.

The tight result is as seen:
Lino Červar 11,85%
Ivano Balic: 15,47%
Ivica Obrvan: 15,73%
Irfan Smajlagic: 15,36%
Petar Metličić: 15,04%
Veselin Vujovic: 12,06
None of the above: 14,48%

Who do you see as the new Croatian national coach? Comment below!

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