Life After Kek: Rijeka Confirms New Coach, Armada Fan Group Protests

Daniela Rogulj

Matjaž Kek parted ways with Rijeka after losing to Gorica over the weekend. 

Igor Bišćan has been officially confirmed as the new coach of Rijeka, the football club announced this afternoon, reports and on October 9, 2018. 

Bišćan will inherit Matjaž Kek’s position, the legendary coach of the club who led Rijeka for the past five and a half years and won the double crown in 2017. 

Igor Bišćan achieved an enviable player career in the ranks of Dinamo, Liverpool, and Panathinaikos. At the same time, Bišćan was part of Liverpool team who won the Champions League in the 2004/2005 season – and he even wore the jersey of the Croatia national team. 

After a successful career on the pitch, Bišćan started his coaching career on the bench of Rudeš, with whom he won first place in the Second League in his first season and took the team to their highest ranking ever. 

It was in that season that he measured his power against Rijeka in the round of 16 of the Croatian Cup. Rijeka celebrated 5:3 after extra time, but Rudeš managed to return to the game after losing 0:3.

Bišćan continued his coaching career at Olimpija in Slovenia, where he quickly left a mark after winning the championship title and the Slovenian Cup last season. Part of this team included Dario Čanađija and Jason Davidson, Rijeka footballers who played this season on loan at Olimpija.

Bišćan will premiere on the Rijeka bench in Zaprešić on October 19 against Inter. 

Rijeka fan group Armada has loudly opposed the appointment of Igor Bišćan. The Rijeka fan group has not forgotten about the incident which took place 19 years ago when Bišćan vulgarly gestured toward Rijeka supporters after scoring a goal for Dinamo. 

That spring of 1999, Rijeka fought against NK Croatia Zagreb (today’s Dinamo) and Hajduk for the championship title, and Bišćan scored two goals – in the 3:0 win on March 7 in Maksimir and on May 16 in a 2:0 win at Kantrida. 

Afterward, Bišćan apologized for his inappropriate goal celebration, but even after all these years, Armada cannot let their anger subside. 

“Never forget, never forgive! Igor, out! The Champions of 98/99” said Armada on Facebook, publishing a photo of Bišćan in a Dinamo jersey.

It remains to be seen how President of Rijeka Damir Mišković and his closest associates will react to the situation, given they have already come to an agreement with Bišćan.


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