Sarajevo FC during the period of 1965 - 1970
1965 - 1970
At the beginning of the season, Sarajevo FC had a new coach. Gegić took over Partizan and the new head professional at Koševo was an experienced expert Aleksandar Atanacković. Several players left Sarajevo FC, but on the other hand, young team players Musemić, Jesenković, Prodanović and Antić were transferred to the first team. These young players had fully come of age in this season with the help of established players like Fazlagić, Vujović, Blažević, Prljača and Mušović, and the two most experienced players in the team Ferhatović and Biogradlić as well.
The new season did not end in the best way. The duel between the current champion and vice-champion of Yugoslavia saw Sarajevo FC welcoming Partizan at Koševo. In the end, the team from Belgrade was victorious with 3-1 score.
After the game, there was turmoil since the Yugoslav Football Association punished Sarajevo FC goalkeeper by five-month ban on playing and lifetime ban for assistant coach F. Lovrić while the secretary of the club B. Vuković was suspended until further notice. The punishment also involved the Koševo Stadium, so the club had to move to Visoko, where it faced Velež from Mostar in the third round, securing a 2-1 victory over it. The very beginning of the season was quite confusing since Hajduk, Željezničar and Trešnjevka were suspended from the League because of Planinić scandal but they were subsequently returned.
Sarajevo FC was supposed to play the next two games with Željezničar and Hajduk, while there was a pending decision on whether the clubs will be returned to the League. Sarajevo FC planned to go to Sofia, but the day before the game in the fourth round, the Yugoslav Football Association changed its decision, so Hajduk, Željezničar and Trešnjevka were returned to the League, so the local derby could be played on the following day. Sarajevo FC was the favorite, because Željezničar had to play without its two best players. Although Sarajevo secured the lead in the beginning, after its own goal the score was tied and the match ended without a winner. After derby, Sarajevo FC team traveled to Sofia, where they played matches with the Bulgarian national ''A'' team and the selected team of the First Bulgarian League, and Sarajevo FC was defeated in both games.
After returning from Sofia, Sarajevo FC hosted Hajduk and defeated it with 3-2 score, and only in the seventh round the first triumph was recorded against OFK Belgrade. In the remaining match of the sixth round three days later, Sarajevo FC faced Radnički in an away game in Niš and two points were enough for the bordeaux team for a third consecutive triumph and share second place with Vojvodina. By the end of the autumn half-season, Sarajevo FC scored three victories and draws as well as two defeats, with a special mention of the game against Dinamo at Koševo, with Sarajevo FC securing a 2-0 victory. With a total of 18 points, Sarajevo FC finished the first part of the season in a great second place, five points behind the leading Vojvodina.
In the next two league games, the performance was middling. With defeat by Partizan and victory against Vojvodina, Sarajevo FC kept a second place in the standings. After Vojvodina, everything went downhill, and Sarajevo FC had to wait for a victory until the 25th round, in the duel with Vardar. This gloomy period lasting month and a half cost Sarajevo FC its position at the very top of the table. Finally, Sarajevo FC ended ninth in the Championship.
Sarajevo FC entered the next season with Brozović as the head of the coaching staff. Everything started like a dream for FC Sarajevo, which in the first round scored victories over Sutjeska and its city rival at Grbavica. This was followed by a draw against the European vice champion Partizan, in which Sarajevo FC demonstrated superior performance, even securing the lead from the start of the match. The first three rounds earned seven points for the club, which many attributed to luck and an easy schedule, but Sarajevo FC meant it seriously and this was best demonstrated by the match against Hajduk in Split, from which Sarajevo FC returned with two points. After the Championship, the competition in the Cup started and Sarajevo FC was pitted against Romanija. The match against Romanija will be remembered for Ferhatović’s goal for 4-0 victory, this being his 100th career goal, but, also, his last goal in official matches for Sarajevo FC.
Four days later came the first league game under floodlights, in which Sarajevo won 2-1 against Olimpija. In this period, the match against Rijeka at Kantrida was a memorable one. This match meant the end of a great career as the legendary Hase left the field due to injury at the very beginning of the game. One bordeaux nine left, but another one in the person of Vahidin Musemić began to shine.
Musemić scored a goal in the third successive match against Velež, but Sarajevo FC could not retain the advantage, so Velež left Koševo with a point under its belt. This was followed by a visit by Red Star resulting in a minimum victory, thanks to the goal scored by Musemić. After Red Star, Sarajevo FC awaited two Cup matches. In the second round of the Cup, Sarajevo FC won 4-1 against Jedinstvo from Brčko. In the first round of the Central European Cup, Sarajevo FC faced Cagliari, a third-ranked team in the Italian championship. The hosts managed to lead 2-0, but Prodanović’s goal set the final score of 2-1. Sarajevo FC team proceeded to Belgrade straight from Italy. Third away match in only six days left its mark on Sarajevo FC players and the team suffered its first defeat of the season. Seven days later, the players made up for the defeat, winning 3-1 against the current champion Vojvodina at Koševo. The same score awaited Cagliari in a rematch game of the first round of the Central European Cup. A total of 4-3 was enough for Sarajevo FC to qualify for the quarter-finals of the oldest European competition, which had hitherto been the greatest success of our club. In the last three First League matches, Sarajevo won four points, after draws with Vardar in Skopje and Dinamo at Koševo, and the victory at the stadium in Blatuša. In the meantime, it played a third-round match in the Cup of BiH, winning impressive 5-3 against Velež and reaching the finals of the Yugoslav Cup. Thus ended the autumn season, in which Sarajevo FC played 20 games with 14 wins, 4 draws and 2 defeats, and the icing on the cake was the flattering title of autumn champions. Simply put, it was an autumn of the champions.
The spring half-season was opened by the game against Dinamo, in 1/8 finals of the Cup of Marshal Tito, and one goal scored by Antić was enough to rank among the top eight teams. Three days after the derby, there emerged a new trial in the form of a duel with Napredak in the quarter finals. The time has come for the historic match against Hajduk Split in the Cup finals and thanks to the machinations of the club from Split, the match between the two clubs which had never won the Cup was played in Split. The home ground proved to be decisive and Hajduk won 2-1, securing its first trophy in this competition. The Cup was lost, but the dreams of winning the title were still alive.
There followed a difficult away match at Marakana and everyone expected at least one point in order to maintain an edge over Dinamo, but two goals scored by Antić and one by Prodanović brought an important 1-3 score for Sarajevo FC, a triumph that gave wings to the players. The victory at Marakana was reinforced a week later, when the same result was achieved against OFK Beograd at Koševo. Sarajevo FC was leading in the standings with 37 points, while these two teams lagged behind it by two points. Next round returned everything to zero, since Sarajevo FC was defeated in Novi Sad, Dinamo triumphed over Radnički and Partizan scored only one point in the duel with Velež. Sarajevo FC and Dinamo were tied when they entered the last three rounds and since it was known that the duel between the two teams was to take place at Maksimir, the tension grew. Two Musemić’s goals ensured triumph over Vardar, but this round was more important for Dinamo’s defeat at Kantrida and Partizan’s loss in Split, which spelled the end of the fight for the title by Partizan.
Sarajevo FC wished to remain undefeated and Brozović’s players succeeded in that endeavor. In a match with no goals, Sarajevo FC retained two-point advantage, so everything was ready for the big celebration. Despite the torrential rain, more than 30,000 spectators were gathered at Koševo and they enjoyed the master performance by Musemić, Antić and Prodanović. Čelik was defeated with 5-2 score and the celebration could begin. Sarajevo FC became the first champion in the six-decade long history of football in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Celebratory fireworks could be lighted, and this great success was celebrated for days. The city of Sarajevo had its first generation of champions: Sirćo, Fazlagić, Muzurović, Jesenković, Bajić, Prljača, Prodanović, Šiljkut, Musemić, Blažević, Antić.
Sarajevo FC learned the name of its first opponent in the European Champions Cup. It was the Cypriot champion Olympiakos from Nicosia. The beginning of the tournament was not very champion-like, because of achieved middling success of three home wins and three defeats in away games, which was enough only for the eighth place in the table. In the meantime, there came a debut game in the strongest European competition, in which Sarajevo FC achieved a 2-2 score in Nicosia, which was enough to guarantee that after the rematch, participation in 1/8 finals was secured.
Without the injured Musemic, Sarajevo FC recorded two consecutive defeats in the Championship, but it also eliminated Olympiakos with a convincing 3-1. It was decided by means of draw that the next hurdle on Sarajevo FC’s road to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup was the current champion of England, the famous Manchester United. All preparations proceeded in that direction, so everyone somewhat neglected the results in the League. There was only one victory over Radnički and two defeats, one at Kantrida and one against the traditionally dangerous Vojvodina at Koševo. Nobody expected anything pleasant ahead of the match with Manchester United. However, with the recovered Musemić and the support of 40,000 fans, Sarajevo FC hosted the Englishmen and even emerged as a better team in a brave and manly game. The match ended without goals, although Musemić scored one, but the referee unjustly disallowed it and a great celebration never happened. In addition to this, Prodanović suffered a severe injury, forcing him to be absent until May next year. Encouraged by the Wednesday’s performance, the players returned from Split with a great 4-2 victory. A rematch at Old Trafford followed. With ample help by the referee, Manchester United emerged victorious with convincing 2-1. A consolation goal for Sarajevo FC was scored by Delalić and the match was marked by the host team’s second goal, which was deemed doubtful since the ball had already left the playground. Manchester United proceeded to win the Champions Cup, while the fans and players were left wondering what would have happened if Musemić’s goal at Koševo had not been disallowed and if the one by Best at Old Trafford was disallowed, as it should have been done if there had been justice.
After a poor ending of the season, the Steering Committee responded and Munib Saračević was named new coach. The coach’s replacement and the winter break suited the players and it was only in the spring that they demonstrated that the title won in the previous season was not a mere coincidence. In 15 spring matches, there were 8 wins, 2 draws and 5 defeats, which was enough for the seventh position.
At the beginning of the season, Sarajevo FC managed to link six games without defeat. There was a string of victories over Rijeka, Čelik and Dinamo at Koševo, followed by the one against Red Star at Marakana, as well as two draws in Skopje and Mostar. After the victory at Marakana everyone expected four new points from the next two games, which would allow Sarajevo FC to strengthen its leading position. Contrary to all expectations, Vojvodina took both points from Sarajevo, while Radnički managed to emerge undefeated seven days later, so instead of four points Sarajevo FC scored only one. The match against Radnički was the first of five games in a row in which Sarajevo did not concede goals but although the defense was up to the task, the assault faltered, and Sarajevo FC failed to score in four of those five games. Thus, the matches against Radnički and Hajduk at Koševo and Olimpija and Borovo in away games ended without goals, and the only two goals were scored in the match with Proleter at Koševo. The defeat at Karaburma in the 13th round was followed by a convincing 4-0 victory over Rijeka and a draw with Partizan in Belgrade. With two defeats in 15 games, Sarajevo FC managed to secure an excellent second place in the standings, and this was a great introduction to the city derby, which was played at Koševo this time. The defeat in the derby and one point from Maribor lead Sarajevo FC to third place.
After Saračević was dismissed, it was not known who was going to sit on the bench, and many were surprised when they learned that Brozović was to return to it. Once again, he decided to give a chance to several young players, and some new ones also appeared in the team, so Brozović was faced with a difficult task of organizing everything. His new debut was in the newly created Champions League organized by the Association of First League teams, with all previous champions of Yugoslavia like Red Star, Partizan, Hajduk, Dinamo and Vojvodina participating in the mini league competitions. The first performance of Sarajevo FC was not exactly stellar and the team finished at sixth place, winning three points in five games. Also, Sarajevo FC opened the season rather poorly, scoring only two victories and four draws in nine games, with just five goals scored. A game in the tenth round was the turning point, in which Maribor was defeated with a convincing 4-0 score, and out of four goals, even two were scored by Musemić who did not stop there. By the end of the season, he scored another four goals, while Sarajevo FC suffered only one defeat by the end of the half-season, securing eighth place in the table for itself with a total of 14 points.
Sarajevo FC ended the year with a tour in Malta, followed by trips to Iraq, Pakistan and Kuwait. For more than a month, Sarajevo FC played more than 14 friendly matches, and suffered no defeat. In the spring, Sarajevo FC again performed poorly. In the first ten rounds, there was only one victory, against Dinamo, with particularly shameful performance at Koševo. Sarajevo FC was no more convincing in the last seven rounds, and only two home wins were worth mentioning, those over Zagreb and Hajduk. Apart from another draw, Sarajevo FC suffered only defeats, and given the disastrous spring, the twelfth place seemed as a good result. The only interesting thing worth mentioning is that the Brazilian champion Palmeiras played at Koševo in May, with Sarajevo FC defeating it with convincing 4-1.