Who inside the Croatian Football Federation tried to bring Zlatko Dalić down?
“I went through some things, but I did not forget them. In America, after the Peru game, they wanted to change me as the coach, they called me by phone and want to change. Fortunately, there were smart people who stopped it. There are so many things… Someone says something, then they are immediately writing press releases and attacking me, and nobody defends me. They do not need to defend me, I will defend myself. But I cannot allow them to change me again. I’m not talking about Šuker, but about the people beside him.”
The statement is that of Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić, who shared his major concern for Croatian football in a soul-opening interview yesterday. Dalić, a coach who has the support of Croatia unlike anyone before him, has announced a possible departure from the national team. If Dalić does decide to walk away now while he is at his peak, those responsible will be the “people around Davor Šuker”, the top of HNS, the “experts” who wanted Dalić, a World Cup finalist today, to be removed from the bench already after his first few games with the team, reports 24 Sata on July 21, 2018.
“We all went through it, but the difference is that they wanted to switch coaches, but they didn’t get rid of him. So his fate was better than some of us. These are temporary difficulties, things that Dalić has to forget. After the World Cup he is no longer who he was before and has a moral obligation to stay as the coach,” Igor Štimac said to Večernji list.
Igor, of course, speaks from experience. Štimac was around the national team for a long time, and it’s no surprise that he can quite accurately assess the problems facing Zlatko Dalić in his first days as the national team coach. And when Dalić said that someone inside HNS tried to bring him down, many immediately thought that Zdravko Mamić was the puppetmaster.
“No, it’s the work of a few acting from the sidelines who are trying to push someone’s candidate by taking down others. The one you mentioned does not work that way, when he says something, he says that everyone is listening, and when he decides to do something, he does it. At least that’s how I knew him,” Štimac said, adding that Dalić should say as the coach.
The man Dalić is most likely referring to at the top of HNS is Damir Vrbanović, who said that Dalić ‘had the full support of the Executive Board from the very start, but also that some members had something to say after the game against Greece, but they are, say, individual thoughts’.
On the other hand, the vice-president of the HNS Executive Board reveals that at the start, they were not for bringing Dalić to Croatia’s bench, even though they chose him unanimously, with 10 votes ‘for’.
“Exactly, not everyone was delighted with the idea that Dalić would become the coach. There were those who were not for him from the beginning, but they did not know him at all. That is why, in every organization that has a large number of people, they do not all share the same opinion. But in the end, it was decided, and the fact is that President Šuker was at the meeting when we chose – and 10 of the 17 members went for Dalić, as well as all of us, so he was unanimously elected. We have stood behind him the entire time,” said HNS Executive Board Vice-President Robert Markulin to Sportske Novosti.
No one, therefore, will find out what power tried to remove Dalić long before he was able to show his worth and knowledge, but the fact is that even Dalić himself confirmed that working in such conditions have severely affected him. The coach said that he had moved on from things, but he would never forget them, and we do not doubt it.
Dalić also mentioned that it is the opportune time to go and return to the bench when the time is right, though we can only hope that Zlatko will listen to the public and decide to stay. Croatia has waited far too long for a real expert; a coach who not only united the team, but the nation.