The Bosnian football team (together with the Croatian team in the background)
There are 1,607 football clubs active in Bosnia with over 20,000 registered players. But the creation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national football team has not been easy. Between August 2007 and May 2008 the national team has fallen in FIFA rankings from 25th to 62nd place.
On 1 June 2008, an estimated 20,000 fans cheered on Bosnia's top football players as they played an important game in defiance of the management of Bosnia's Football Association. The players and fans have been protesting the corruption and incompetence of the Association. For them, the last straw was the sacking of the new coach and former football star, Meho Kodro, for refusing to take charge of a friendly against Iran, which had been set up in place of a friendly against Poland.
At the beginning of 2007 a total of 13 soccer players refused to play for the national team in protest at the Bosnian Football Association’s alleged mismanagement and incompetence.
Dario Damjanovic. Photo: glasdalmacije.com
According to Dario Damjanovic, who was born in Gradacac, a renewed team spirit has taken root in the national squad.
"It is not important that there are different nationalities in the Reprezentacija. We are like a family. I personally feel like at home […]. We are all like one body, like one spirit."
"I am playing for the country that I was born in, and nobody can take this away from me […]. We are coming together, the players from Sarajevo and us, who are from the rest of Bosnia and who know each other, and we talk a little about our home country, about Bosnia, remember all the things that happened. Seriously, I am so rarely here. There are many players who stay here; but we, who come from abroad, we have more emotions.”
The Bosnian national team has had only a few successes in major international games. In the qualifying rounds for the Euro 2008 championship, Bosnia beat Turkey 3:2 at home. They beat Norway away 1:2 and won twice against Malta. The team came fourth in their group (Group C).
The team's biggest success: In the C Qualifying Group for UEFA EURO 2008