Mesa is not good enough but Bosnia is stuck with him for now


The quote below is from a post I wrote last November right after Bosnia-Herzegovina was defeated by Ireland in the Euro 2016 qualification play-off.

Losing is not the worst thing that can happen, not if you have a courageous and positive performance to be proud of. Losing to a clearly superior opponent is understandable. You can still lift your head high knowing you had a real go. I had that feeling when Bosnia-Herzegovina lost 1-0 to Portugal in a hard fought play-off in Lisbon years ago. I don’t have that feeling now. What I feel now is more akin to shame and embarrassment.

Nearly a year later and my words are just as relevant now as they were then. That should tell you how much “progress” the national team has made under Mesa Bazdarevic. Almost none of the questions and concerns from last year have been answered. Just a few new names on the team sheet here and there but no real change.

Once again the Bosnian team went into a big qualifying match like they have no pride in themselves or their country and were quite rightly put to the sword by Belgium. The problems were numerous and obvious: poor selection of ageing players with no legs; in-form winger Edin Visca dropped from the starting 11 despite being the only pacey player we have who gives us a chance of counter-attacking effectively; Mesa choosing such a massive game to experiment with a new system, etc.  That’s not to say that the Belgians were brilliant but then again they never really had to be — second gear was enough. And that’s what hurts; most of us did not expect to beat Belgium but we do expect to at least go down swinging, not cowering with our tails between our legs.

Two of the most jarring examples of Mesa’s failure to properly utilize the resources at his disposal are Visca and Ibisevic. Visca is a regular goal scorer and consistently one of the best players in the Turkish Super Lig and Ibisevic is in blistering form currently topping the Bundesliga charts with 5 goals in 476 minutes (1 goal every 95 minutes).  One would think that Mesa would choose the system which is most suited to replicate their club form for the national team but he does the exact opposite. The same thing goes for Dzeko, Pjanic, and Lulic; all three had good starts to their club season but all three looked lost against Belgium. This sharp contrast between our players’ club and country form has plagued us for years, but I don’t think it’s ever been worse than it is right now.

Why, for example, did we not simply play a solid 4-5-1 with Ibisevic up front, and Lulic and Visca on the wings to cut in and feed the Hertha Berlin man with crosses like his club team-mates do? Everyone in their natural positions and with a clear game plan. Set the team up to play for the in-form forward and give it a real go. This may sound simple but both Susic and Mesa skipped mastering the fundamentals and instead attempted to reinvent the wheel with poorly planned and ill timed experiments. Trying to be too clever for your own good is never a bright idea, especially when you’re not very clever to begin with.

Now our qualifying scenario becomes all too familiar. Bosnia aims to finish second in the group, which means yet another difficult play-off — our fourth since 2009. The previous three were unsuccessful, with each performance worse than the last, and all signs point to a repeat of the same depressing pattern this time. This group of players is too accustomed to losing in big games. It’s impossible to escape the feeling that this qualifying campaign is already doomed. The phrase “dead man walking” comes to mind.

My conclusion now is the same as it was last November: Mesa Bazdarevic is not good enough. He hasn’t solved almost any of the problems he inherited from his predecessor Safet Susic, and he doesn’t show any signs of ever being able to do so. The Bosnian national team will have no success until the FA brings in a manager who understands that more strikers on the pitch doesn’t always mean more goals, that balance is far more important than forcing all the “big names” into one line-up, and that absolutely no player is undroppable if he’s out of form or does not compliment the system.

Losing feels awful, but knowing that you are stuck with a coach with whom there is no future is far worse; it all begins to feel pointless and leaves you with nothing to look forward to as a fan.

Another bit from last year:

After our disappointing World Cup experience in Brazil, the Bosnian FA made the mistake of renewing Susic’s contract. He was then sacked anyway only four matches later but the damage was done and that foolish decision cost us direct qualification for Euro 2016. I fear we may make a similar mistake with Bazdarevic and doom our journey to the 2018 World Cup before it even begins.

Unfortunately, my prediction was correct and the opportunity to make a change is gone. Mesa should have been replaced after he failed to qualify for Euro 2016, but just like Susic, he was given a second chance he didn’t really deserve. Sacking him now would be largely pointless and no one stands out as an obvious replacement, but even if there was, the Bosnian FA is not going to sack a coach after losing to the second ranked team in the world. We have no choice but to wait and hope against hope that he and the players muster enough character and quality to see out the qualifying cycle in a respectable fashion.



Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions must be asked, changes must be made

Bosnia v. Ireland

Losing is not the worst thing that can happen, not if you have a courageous and positive performance to be proud of. Losing to a clearly superior opponent is understandable. You can still lift your head high knowing you had a real go. I had that feeling when Bosnia-Herzegovina lost 1-0 to Portugal in a hard fought play-off in Lisbon years ago. I don’t have that feeling now. What I feel now is more akin to shame and embarrassment.

Once again we’ve fallen short except this time it wasn’t against a more talented group of players or a footballing superpower; it was against the Republic of Ireland, a scrappy but technically inferior team that hadn’t managed to score more than 1 goal at home for an entire year. And this time, there is no positives, no ballsy performance, no encouraging future to take comfort in.

Every pundit I came across considered us the favourites. After the first leg in Zenica ended in a flat 1-1 draw thanks to an unnecessary and unbalanced tactical change from Bazdarevic, all those pundits and experts expressed their disappointment in Bosnia’s performance but they treated it as little more than a blip. They talked up Edin Dzeko’s lethal finishing and Miralem Pjanic’s creative and technical genius. They were sure we would improve in the second leg and cause the Irish major problems.

Instead, Martin O’Neill’s Ireland carried out his simple but effective plan to near perfection and once again Bosnia choked on the big occasion, putting in one of the worst performances I have ever seen and losing 2-0. Another qualification cycle down the drain and once again for the same old reasons. For a moment I considered the possibility that Safet Susic had somehow returned wearing Mehmed Bazdarevic’s skin.

This can’t go on. Questions must be asked, and solutions must be found.

Why are we continuously under-preforming? Why do we always choke for the biggest games, the games we should relish? Why are we so psychologically weak and moody?  Why are most of our players unable to recreate their club form for the national team? Why has Miralem Pjanic never played for the national team nearly as well as he plays for Roma on a regular basis? Why do our coaches tactically shackle Pjanic instead of building the whole team around him?

Why do we call up players who don’t even play for their clubs when there are other options?  Why do we ignore promising young players just keep to declining veterans around? Why do we hire unproven unprofessional Bosnian coaches instead of a decent foreign manager that will finally instil some order and discipline?

Why did nations like Albania, Hungary, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Sweden, and Wales all qualify for Euro 2016 and we did not? Some of those squads are of comparable quality to Bosnia  and some are much weaker. Yet they all qualified and we did not.

Why do we have no heart? Where is the steel? The pride? THE BALLS?

Bazdarevic deserves credit for picking up the pieces after Susic’s catastrophic start and turning our fortunes around enough to make the play-offs. He also deserves strong criticism for his naive line-ups and foolish tactical decisions in the play-off. We were playing bad sloppy football but nobody cared because he was getting good (and some would say fortunate) results, but that can only last for so long and our luck ran out against the well drilled and organized Irish.

The fact is Bazdarevic failed to prepare his team psychologically and tactically for the two biggest matches of the campaign. The  man was visibly distraught after our elimination but he still managed to throw in a few of the traditional Bosnian excuses about referees, injuries, the weather conditions, and pressure. Dzeko was the most honest of the bunch telling reporters “we can’t win a game we didn’t even play” and that Bosnia didn’t deserve to go to Euro 2016.

This team needs a serious facelift and at least half a dozen players, especially the ageing vets who don’t have the legs any more, have to be moved to the bench or removed completely. Younger, hungrier, more modern players have to be given a chance. Bazdarevic may be better than Susic, but not by much, and his performances and decisions over the last 5 matches have not convinced me that he is the right man to rebuild this team for a brighter future. He is yet another Bosnian coach who does not learn from his mistakes quickly enough. I like the man but he’s just not good enough for the job.

Vahid Halilhodzic and Vladimir Petkovic are the only quality Bosnian mangers and since they are both currently beyond our reach, Bosnia should be looking for a proven foreign manager. Someone not burdened by the “Balkan mentality”. Foreign managers have gotten more out of these players for their clubs than any Bosnian manager ever has for the national team.

After our disappointing World Cup experience in Brazil, the Bosnian FA made the mistake of renewing Susic’s contract. He was then sacked anyway only four matches later but the damage was done and that foolish decision cost us direct qualification for Euro 2016. I fear we may make a similar mistake with Bazdarevic and doom our journey to the 2018 World Cup before it even begins.

Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

No, you don’t need a squad of superstars to play good football and be competitive


Belgium beat us. They beat us and extinguished our only chance of automatically qualifying for Euro 2016. We had to win and we didn’t. I won’t say “couldn’t” because that would be a lie. We could have, but we didn’t. It was a hard working but often sloppy performance, particularly in attack, and Bazdarevic made a few questionable decisions, but even so it was only after the late penalty by Hazard that the game felt truly won for Belgium. If not for Courtois it easily could have ended as a 3-3 draw. There is no shame in being defeated by a talented team currently ranked #2 in the world and composed of some of the most valuable players in football.

The loss is tough but even harder to endure is the half-baked “analysis” that follows. It happens every time we lose. Most fans succumb to extreme knee-jerk reactions and their first instinct is to look for a scapegoat and that’s usually the player who deserves it the least. It’s truly tiresome. I generally don’t visit Bosnian forums, football themed Facebook pages, or even glance at comment sections after a loss. To do so is to invite salt to be poured into a freshly cut wound.

After the match in Brussels the predictable gloom and doom took hold and the same kind of fans who euphorically predicted we would beat Belgium comfortably are now claiming that, with the exception of Pjanic and Dzeko, Bosnia simply doesn’t have enough world class players to make more of an impact and therefore we are right where we deserve to be. This is the kind of poorly thought out bullshit that makes my blood boil. Fans who make this argument are forgetting (or ignoring) several things:

One cannot argue that our current position is as high as these players can go when we already have proof that they can go higher. We already know they’re capable of much more – we’ve seen it. In fact, even weaker Bosnian teams from the past have performed better (in the 2010 World Cup qualifications, Ciro finished second behind Spain in Group 5 and then narrowly lost to Portugal in the second round play-off).

One also cannot forget the fact that Bosnia wouldn’t be in such a difficult position in the first place had our FA replaced Safet Susic on time. Susic should have been sacked after his disappointing World Cup performance but was allowed to stay charge for the first four matches of our Euro 2016 qualifying campaign where he won only 2 points out of a possible 12 and suffered shocking defeats to Cyprus and Israel. These were games everyone expected us to win. He was then sacked and replaced by Mehmed Bazdarevic who then led Bosnia to a 3-1  victory in the return leg against Israel further proving how much of an upset that first loss really was. Susic left us with the difficult task of having to recover quickly and win all the remaining matches. Lack of player ability didn’t land us in our current mess; terrible coaching and our FA did.

Any fan who bothers to glance at the current standings in the other Euro 2016 qualification Groups can see that organized and highly motivated teams that lack world class players can still play good football and achieve good results.

Iceland sits top of Group A and has just qualified for their first major tournament with two games still to play; second place in the same group is Czech Republic with a squad of players based mostly in the Czech league and a few weaker Bundesliga clubs; Slovakia is second place in Group C, only behind Spain, whom they even defeated 2-1 at home. Then there is Albania, Romania, Norway, and Austria. All preforming well and all with similar or weaker squads than ours. Or if you really want an example that hits closer to home, just remember the superb performance of Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic and his Algerian team at the World Cup in Brazil. Talk about getting the most out of your squad.

Obviously, having a team packed with top players greatly increases your chances of success but a good team requires far more than just a collection of stars. Even star studded national teams go through bad periods and struggle without proper motivation and tactics.

So the reality is that equally talented and even less talented teams are doing better than us and we have no excuse for such a poor qualifying campaign. Even though our squad is far from world class, Bosnia should be, at the minimum, competing for second place in our group, but instead we are barely holding on to the hope of finishing 3rd and that’s only if the other team’s results go our way.  So no, we are not where we should be.

A shrewd manager who knows how to get the best out of his players can go a long way but Bosnia has never had such a man at the helm. Endlessly telling ourselves we have no hope because we can’t field a starting 11 of world class superstars is just about the laziest analysis you can offer. There are many things that actually can be improved in this team and in Bosnian football in general, and these things should be discussed but that’s too hard; it’s much easier to whine about the things that can’t be helped because that requires no work. And we all know how our FA feels about doing actual work.


Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Armin Hodzic just made the world take notice – Will Liverpool regret letting him go?

Award winning Liverpool blog FansCorner just published an article I wrote about Bosnian ex-Liverpool striker Armin Hodzic and whether or not the Reds made a mistake letting him go. This is a young player all Bosnian fans should be following.

Read it here: Armin Hodzic just made the world take notice – Will Liverpool regret letting him go?

Posted in Bosnian Players Abroad, Liverpool | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Problems Bazdarevic must solve to get us to Euro 2016

mesa bazdarevic

Mehmed Bazdarevic is off to a respectable start as the new Bosnian coach. He’s only been in charge for two matches and although a victory against minnows Andorra and a draw against Austria are hardly incredible results, one does get the feeling Bosnia is back on the right path.

Bazdarevic has already shown a lot of passion for his team, which is extremely refreshing when you consider that his predecessor had a habit of impersonating a wax sculpture on the sideline. Where as Susic appeared to be under heavy sedation at all times, Bazdarevic behaves as if he has a coke habit he indulges in just before kick-off. I mean that in the best way possible.

He has also shown us another crucial quality that Susic was missing: the ability to recognize what isn’t working and to make the necessary changes. Those who don’t adapt, tend to die. So while I’m still not completely sold on him, Bazdarevic appears to be headed in the right direction. However, there are a few vital issues that still must be solved if we are to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the tournament in France.


There are no more friendlies for Bazdarevic to tinker and experiment. Our next game is the must win qualifying match against Israel.  The 4-4-2 that Susic loved to play has backfired more than once and is no longer a good option in must win games against decent opponents. This is especially true now that Dzeko’s strike partner Ibisevic is in the worst form of his life.

Most of Bosnia’s best results and performances were achieved while playing in the more stable 4-2-3-1 and had we stuck with this formation in the World Cup we almost certainly would have made it out of the group stage. With no time left for further experimentation, Bazdarevic’s best option for now is to stick with the system that works.


Pjanic is our most gifted and creative player and one of the best central midfielders in Europe but he has consistently struggled for the national team, never quite matching his impressive club performances. We have repeatedly tried to shove him in the attacking midfield role behind Dzeko, in the hope tha he could fill the void left by the recently retired Misimovic but it has never worked. Pjanic is not an Oscar or Juan Mata; he is more of a Xavi or Pirlo and does his best work dictating the game from deeper positions. He is the brain. This is how he is used in Roma and this is how he should be used in the national team.

It would be tempting to try to copy the 4-3-3 used by Roma as this system seems tailor-made for Pjanic but as stated above, we just don’t have the time to experiment. Assuming Bazdarevic sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation, Pjanic will be most at home next to Besic as he was against Argentina in the World Cup.


Misimovic was a world class playmaker who had an incredible connection with Dzeko and this partnership resulted in heaps of goals both for Wolfsburg and Bosnia. This is not easy to replace. We’ve already seen that Pjanic is far more effective in a deeper role, which means Bazdarevic will have to decide which of our other midfielders is most suited to play behind the striker.

Sejad Salihovic of Hoffenheim possesses good vision, passing range, long distance shooting ability and is one of the best set piece specialists in the world but the 30 year old has picked up injury after injury and is not quite the player he used to be. Still, he is one of the most experienced players in the squad and should be one of the top options. Deportivo la Coruna’s Haris Medunjanin is a similar case. Experienced, silky smooth passer with good vision, but it would be fair to say he’s not the most energetic or quick player. Then again, neither was Misimovic.

Some are hopeful that newcomer Mario Vrancic of Paderborn may be the answer and while there is no doubt that he deserves a spot in the squad, like Pjanic his primary position is central midfield not attacking. From what I have seen he would probably be more at home in a midfield three (4-3-3) with Besic and Pjanic  than he would as a CAM. That is just my initial impression and he should definitely be given a chance in the next friendly.

The other candidates are Semir Stilic, Sanjin Prcic, and Tino-Sven Susic. It’s hard to have much faith in Stilic as he has only now returned to the national team and still plays in the Polish league. Some will argue that he is too good for Poland and could easily move to a higher level competition, but the fact is that he has not done that yet. In my opinion he is too unproven to be a starter but should be given a chance to change that off the bench. The same applies to Sanjin Prcic of Stade Rennais and Tino Susic of Hajduk Split; young midfielders with plenty of potential but right now they should be looking to make their impact as substitutes.


What is our best centre back pairing? I honestly don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. The matches against Andorra and Austria did nothing to clear this up. The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen) is irreplacable, so that decision is easy. Picking his partner, however, is not. Bazdarevic has Ermin Bicakcic (Hoffenheim), Ognjen Vranjes (Gaziantepspor), Toni Sunjic (Kuban Krasnodar), Ervin Zukanovic (Chievo Verona), and Edin Cocalic (Mechelen) to choose from but it is not an easy decision as none of the defenders clearly stands out head and shoulders above the rest yet.

Zukanovic is currently playing well as left-back for both club and country but the return of Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac will complicate things as the powerful fan favorite will almost certainly start again as soon as he is fully fit. One of them will have to be benched or moved to CB, and I don’t think anyone in their right mind would bench Kolasinac (Susic did so against Nigeria at the World Cup with disastrous results).

The truth is that less talented teams have been playing much better football than we have in these qualifications. We are constantly underperforming. We have 5 points out of a possible 15. Iceland has 12, Albania has 7. In order to qualify, Bazdarevic will have to get the absolute best out of our squad and to do that solutions for the problems listed above must be found.

Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The clown is gone but the circus is still here


Feels good, man. Feels good.

Despite his consistent refusals to step down even as everything we’ve been building for years burned down around him, Safet Sušić is no longer in charge of the Bosnia-Herzegovina national team.

In the end, he was removed by the same group of slack jawed yokels who appointed him in the first place and didn’t have the sense or decency to remove him after his poor performance at the 2014 World Cup. Instead, they decided it was appropriate to extend his contract and pay him even more money. But after a series of increasingly humiliating debacles, they were left with little choice and finally removed him yesterday. He’s finally gone. Say that out loud. Let it sink in. It feels good.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or reads this blog will know how little I think of Safet Sušić the football manager. He’s armed me and his other critics with endless ammunition over the years. The reasons for his sacking are numerous; he was a failure in every aspect of modern football management and the fact he lasted this long will tell you everything you need to know about the Bosnian FA.

The results of his incompetence are staggering. To put it bluntly, we stink. We stink badly. And we’ve stunk for a while; the national team has been in bad form and under performing since our 3-1 win over Greece in March of 2013. Out of our last seven competitive matches, Sušić has won one. One victory. Over Iran. We stink.

Argentina – Bosnia-Herzegovina 2:1
Nigeria – Bosnia-Herzegovina 1:0
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Iran 3:1
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Cyprus 1:2
Wales – Bosnia-Herzegovina 0:0
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Belgium 1:1
Israel – Bosnia-Herzegovina 3:0

Last night our stink reached its eye watering zenith as underdog Israel put three goals past us without reply and inflicted upon us the most humiliating defeat this generation of players and fans has ever suffered. We now have 2 points out of a possible 12 in our Euro qualifying campaign. The second highest scoring team of the 2014 World Cup qualifications has now scored 2 goals in the last 4 games. In a group we were supposed to dominate.

God, we stink.

The reality is that Bosnia-Herzegovina’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 are now so small they may as well not exist at all. Has Sušić apologized to the fans and truly accepted the responsibility for his failure? No, not really. Instead, he’s decided to leave us with one last insult just to remind us that he too thinks very little of us:

“I don’t feel responsible if Bosnia-Herzegovina doesn’t qualify for Euro 2016” – Safet Sušić

Two points out of a possible twelve and you don’t feel responsible? Competitive losses to Cyprus and Israel, and you don’t feel responsible? Going into a decisive qualifying match without a striker because you refused to call one up, but you don’t feel responsible? In the Balkans, this is known as having no “obraz” (honor, dignity, “face”). In the English speaking world it is generally known as being a delusional coward.

Compare this disgraceful behaviour with the actions of Dick Advocaat. The Dutch manager was in charge of Serbia for three competitive matches and after failing to defeat Armenia and Denmark in the Euro qualifiers he not only agreed to step down but even refused to accept the payout.

“After the match against Denmark I knew there was no sense staying. I decided not to accept any payout. For me this was the logical move and in the best interest of Serbian football. My decision was unbelievable to them, they didn’t expect it.” – Dick Advocaat

But lets be honest here: Dick Advocaat is a serious football manager. Safet Sušić is not. He has never been able to hold down a job anywhere; before taking over the Bosnian-Herzegovinian national team, his longest run in charge was 13 games with Turkish club Caykur Rizespor. Sušić has never shown an ounce of tactical shrewdness or understanding of how to use the squad at his disposal. A manager is supposed to inspire and prepare players tactically, physically, and mentally. Sušić does none of these things. His man management and communication skills are so bad he can only be described as a pathological asshole. Our players’ club form and international form could not be more different. Everything in the vicinity of Sušić’s radiating mediocrity seems to go to hell.

We all know the job is not an easy one and everyone makes mistakes, but you have to learn from your errors and not repeat them. You have to adapt and improve. You have to take responsibility. Sušić did not. He doesn’t know how. Further proof of this was provided during the match against Israel when he subbed off Bešić, our only defensive midfielder; this led to some desperate defending which earned Bosnian centre back Toni Šunjić a red card. Did Sušić react to the sending off like every normal coach would? No, instead he put on yet another midfielder. We played the rest of the match with one defender and eight midfielders. I think even those of you who have been watching football for decades couldn’t say you’ve ever seen something like that before.

Now the nightmare is finally over, but the sad truth is that there is no guarantee the reality we wake up to will be much better. The same FA that chose and inexplicably propped up Safet, will now be selecting our next coach. They are the ones most responsible for our troubles; the true “big bad” that appears after you think you’ve won, like the post credits scene that reveals Thanos at the end of “Avengers”. If they have the opportunity they will do it again.

Then there’s the fans. Ah yes, the “true” fans. The ones that “love Bosnia equally in victory or defeat”. The ones that chose to ignore all the warning signs when there was still time to save ourselves because they “trust in Safet Sušić, the greatest Bosnian player of all time!”. The ones that won’t allow reporters and writers to offer legitimate criticism because it “destroys the atmosphere in the team” and because “Sušić is the hero that took us to the World Cup”. The fans who could watch Sušić drink the blood of a freshly murdered nun on live television and still find a way to absolve him of any blame. The same fans who are now suddenly spitting on Sušić and repeating the same things I’ve been saying for over a year. The same things they used to attack me for saying. Yeah, those fans. As far as I’m concerned they are just as much to blame for where we are right now.

Most of his peers were no better, refusing to man up and openly criticize their old friend’s obvious tactical errors and destructive behaviour. Instead, they just whined about the negative influence of the media and the unrealistic expectations of fans. Slovakia is first in their group, three points ahead of Spain and Ukraine, but they think we are being unrealistic because we expect to defeat Cyprus, Wales, and Israel. This is the kind of loser mentality that will continue to hold us back, and not just in football.

So by all means lets celebrate the fact that Sušić and all the madness that accompanies him is history–believe me, I’ve longed for this day more than most–but don’t celebrate too long because the FA hasn’t changed and very soon they will be announcing his successor. Pray that they aren’t as stupid and corrupt as we all think they are because on the odd chance they make the right choice we might still even claw our way to Euro 2016. If nothing else, we may rekindle that which has became so rare in recent months — the feeling of fun and excitement to watch our national team play.

Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I fucking told you so

Goddamn it. I’m doing it again. I’m writing about Safet Sušić.

I have no choice. He’s still here and he’s more incompetent than ever. Still completely out of touch; still suffocating the increasingly disillusioned fans and holding the national team back with his loser mentality; still making statements so counterproductive and obscenely stupid they make England’s Roy Hodgson sound like Christopher Hitchens.

The last time I wrote about Safet was right after the World Cup, to briefly lay out how we should proceed forward after his sacking. I warned that sticking with him could cost us a trip to Euro 2016 in France. I was sure he would be gone by now. I was wrong. I underestimated our FA’s unprofessionalism, lack of pride, and talent for self destruction. They not only gave the Sarah Palin of football managers a new contract but even a raise. He is currently the least skilled but highest paid Balkan coach.

We are now three games deep into our Euro 2016 qualification campaign and we have carved out a staggering two points — out of a possible nine. Despite having the second best squad in the qualifying group with talented players like Dzeko, Pjanić, Bešić, Begović, Medunjanin, and Lulić, our mighty tactician only managed a 1-2 home loss to Cyprus, a 0-0 away draw with Wales, and a 1-1 home draw with Belgium. Of the three results, only the last is acceptable. Unless of course you are Safet Sušić. He is satisfied.

I’ve always wanted to create a compilation of all of Sušić’s greatest hits; all of his bizarre statements and decisions, compiled in one place so that one could take a look and really get a sense of just how tragically useless and stupid this man is. But a ‘project’ of that magnitude would require more time and work than I’m willing to devote to someone like him. Instead, let’s just take a look at his latest insult to Bosnian fans and the sport of football.

Two strikers, one striker, no strikers

“Backup strikers? I don’t need those. Bitch, don’t you know I’m the greatest player in PSG history and the first to take Bosnia to a major tournament?”

Despite the desperate pleas of fans, Sušić has always refused to call up another striker, putting all his trust into Manchester City’s Edin Džeko and Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibišević . And so it was that our Machiavellian tactician decided to go to the 2014 World Cup with only two forwards. We complained, he didn’t care. Then Ibišević picked up an injury and Sušić became the only coach in the Euro 2016 Qualifications to call up only ONE striker — our talismanic captain Džeko. We complained. He didn’t care.

When asked what we were supposed to do in the event that Džeko also suffers an injury and can’t play, Sušić replied with his unique but all too familiar brand of idiocy and defeatism:

If Džeko does get injured we have to accept that our chance of qualifying is minimal. After Ibišević was injured, now I’m supposed to think will Džeko be injured too?”

Apparently Sušić believes it outrageous to expect the highest paid coach in the region to think ahead and have some sort of backup plan. How dare we expect him to meet the bare minimum responsibilities of his job. A job he should’ve lost long ago.

Dear reader, you’ll never guess what happened next. Earlier today, on Saturday, November 8, our only striker Edin Džeko–a player with a nearly spotless injury record–was injured minutes after being subbed on by Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. Only eight days before we face Israel in Haifa. We will know the extent of the injury tomorow, but according to early reports it is the hamstring. This means Džeko will most likely miss the match against Israel. We are now left with no strikers.

Sušić has no “Plan B” and he’s not ashamed to admit it either. He simply plans to wait and pray that Džeko recovers in time. This is our manager. This is what some Bosnians still defend and support.

And it gets worse.

Sušić was also naive enough to reveal that he already knew that Džeko was having some issues with his hamstring prior to today. This means that even before today’s incident against QPR, Sušić was aware there was a significant possibility Džeko wouldn’t be 100% for our next qualifying matches. This makes his decision to not call up another forward even more irresponsible and infuriating.

Sušić added that there is no Bosnian striker out there as good as Ibišević or Džeko and therefore no one worthy of a call up. By this logic all the other national teams in the qualifications would only call up strikers that are as good or better than Džeko, and if there wasn’t any, they wouldn’t call up anyone.

Our tiny neighbour Montenegro (population: 620,000) has called up four forwards. Would Sušić have us believe that Montenegro has four world class forwards and a bigger talent pool to choose from than us? Any Bosnian football fan can name at least three or four potential names to call up while Ibišević and Džeko are out. Our coach, apperantly, can’t.

Sušić doesn’t seem to understand what a backup is, or that less talented forwards than Džeko score goals all the time. He seems to have forgotten that Cyprus defeated us on our own turf using players most of us have never even heard of.

Most importantly, Sušić is becoming increasingly detached from reality and it is destroying our national team. His tactics are from a different age, his key decisions are catastrophic, and his logic is very different from our Earth logic. There is no future with him as our coach.

Regardless of how soon Džeko recovers, this episode should serve as yet another warning to show just how dangerous and careless Sušić can be. Even if by some miracle we qualify for France 2016 he will only underachieve and humiliate us. Again.

Sack him. For fuck’s sake, sack him now.

It won’t hurt our chances one single bit.

Posted in Bosnia-Herzegovina National Team | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments