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Contacts as Important as Talent in Football

Knowing the right people, or being related to them, can insure success in football.
Stevan Jovetić (lijevo) i Amer Osmanagić (desno) osvajali su pehare u omladinskom timu beogradskog Partizana. Foto: Fudbalski klub Partizan

One thing players and coaches agree on is that contacts can pay off in the world of football. That was the case for Amer Osmanagić, 19, who used to play for the national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and was captain of the U -17 and U-19 national teams.

He was poised to move up to the next BiH national team until he argued with his coach.

‘I had a clash with the national coach Ivo Knežević and he showed no understanding for me, nor did I for him. His decision was that I should sit on the bench while his son (played)’ he said.

After the argument, Osmanagić said, Knežević told him, ‘As long as I’m here you will not play for the national team.’ Osmanagic thought then his dream of playing for Bosnia’s national team was over.

Knežević, though, said he had hoped Osmanagić would be the team captain and was disappointed by his behavior. He said he knew that Osmanagić was unhappy with him and his assistants because he had to wait on the bench during a friendly game against Montenegro in Trebinje in 2007.

Osmanagić began his career with Tuzla’s Sloboda club, where a scout for Belgrade’s Partizan club recognized his talent. Partizan brought him under its wing, and earlier this year he was invited to join the U-19 team of Serbia, said Zlatko Krmpotić, the former national team coach.

But Osmanagić said he wanted to play for his own country again. And that’s when a contact proved useful.

His father, Mirsad, knew an assistant coach for the under-21 national team. He made a phone call. ‘I asked him to invite him for a tryout and see if they needed such a player’ his father said.

Osmanagić played with the team this fall and, according to the coach his father called, will be a part of the team’s future.

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