Croatian Athletes and Staff Talk About Unexpected Time at Home

Daniela Rogulj

March 15, 2020 – There are already several Croatian athletes and sports professionals who, due to various contacts, have been forced to spend two weeks at home because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Croatian sailors Sime and Mihovil Fantela arrived back in Zadar from Palma de Mallorca where the Princess Sofia Trophy was to be held. The World Champion sailors are safe, but self-isolating. 

Sime told HRT more:

“I must be with my wife and kid for two weeks at home. We will be careful; we will be careful not to go outside and simply wait for the news ahead. It is a little difficult, we are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, which is our most important goal, and now we are practically without training for 15 days. It’s not easy, but we will try to be patient and simply respond to the current situation.” You can see the video on HRT here.

The coronavirus also calmed down tennis for six weeks. Marin Cilic, like most of his colleagues, will enjoy an atypical March at home with family, reports

“We are aware of the situation and it is certainly better to beware than to take the possible risks so here – now I have more time at home. It was the perfect time for me to be with my family, enjoy and have a little more time to rest, and hang out.”

A month and a half ago, Cilic welcomed his first child, Baldo.

“I will definitely be more awake overnight, which will make Kristina’s life much easier.“

However, family rewards are the reason why the world’s 37th best tennis player in the world takes the prevention of coronavirus as seriously as possible.

“Of course I’m afraid most of all because of Baldo, because he’s still very small. I am even avoiding going to the gym, where there are bigger gatherings, and maybe I’ll even do more outdoor workouts.”

A few days ago, Cilic met with the Sinkovic brothers on Jarun Lake for an outdoor training session. He said he is in contact with other Croatian athletes, too.

“I heard from the NBA guys; they told me that this is unique and everything is under alarm. They do not know what is going to happen, or if they will return home or stay there, so we are still on the edge of our seats, waiting for what will develop, but most importantly, we are all healthy and this is under control. “

But Cilic does not doubt that the world of sports will certainly feel the consequences.

“Who knows what the Olympics will be like, but luckily for tennis, the positive is that our season is so long, it lasts until the end of November. The problem is that the points will be affected, with other tournaments being canceled – but these are less of a concern.”

Several prominent HNS members, including President Davor Suker and coach Zlatko Dalic, are also in self-isolation, reports T.portal.

They all attended the UEFA Congress and the Nations League draw in  Amsterdam on March 2, which included the president of the Serbian Football Association Slavisa Kokeza, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The Croatian delegation was not in close contact with Kokeza, but out of precaution, they are in self-isolation, and so far, no one is showing any symptoms.

“They were in the same place he was 12 days ago. We checked, none of them had close contact with him, if any. However, because of the precautionary measures and because they are responsible people, they are behaving responsibly in this situation, so we agreed to reduce contacts for 14 days, that is, if you want to call it that, they will be in self-isolation,” Croatian Football Federation doctor Zoran Bahtijarevic told RTL.

“Of everyone who was there, no one has symptoms. The likelihood of being infected is extremely low, but it is not good enough for us. We act responsibly and, as a last resort, send everyone a message to act responsibly,” said Bahtijarević.

Although the initial information was that Kokeza contracted the coronavirus in Amsterdam at the UEFA Congress, he had contracted it in Milan.

“Slavisa Kokeza is holding up well, feeling good. Everything happened in Milan, there are a lot of viruses from that city,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at a press conference.

After the anticipated Doha friendly tournament was canceled due to the global pandemic, where Croatia was to play against Switzerland and Portugal, the Federation’s leadership and coach Dalic agreed that there would be no national team meeting this month. HNS informed the clubs of all the invited national team about this decision.

The decision was made keeping in mind the current situation in Croatia and Europe, that is, the global pandemic of the new coronavirus, to protect the health of the national team.

“It is the position of the Federation and the professional staff, headed by coach Dalic, that it is safest for national team members to stay in the cities where they reside, in quarantines or under other measures in force in certain countries,” HNS said.

“Something that has never happened in the history of sports has happened. We need to be concerned about the health of athletes, fans and all other actors in football, but also in sports in general. This is an emergency that no one could have foreseen, but we have to deal with it. We have approached this problem with maximum responsibility, and it is not easy. This is a disaster for sports and the economy, but all human lives must come first,” Suker said in an interview, noting that his stance on Tuesday’s UEFA video conference would be that the EURO does not take place this year.

“In any case, we will know more after Tuesday, human lives are paramount,” Suker concluded.

The European Football Federation (UEFA) announced a major video conference next Tuesday with the leaderships of all 55 Member States and representatives of ECA, FIFPro and European leagues to discuss further steps European football will take in the context of a pandemic the coronavirus, with regard to both domestic and European club competitions, as well as EURO 2020.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment