Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Thank you to all the friends, known and unknown people, who wished me speedy recovery after the thyroid surgery. It was taken out last night (Monday), today I was released from hospital and I was resting the entire afternoon, replying to FB messages and emails. As you read this article, (Wednesday morning), I will already be on my way to Sarajevo. I feel really great.
In anticipation of the great match between Croatia and England, I was thinking about the things that happened 28 years ago at the World Cup Italy 1990, and which we are watching again today, in a slightly altered form.
The Yugoslav national team played the quarterfinals in Milan in 1990 against Argentina. We had an excellent team led by phenomenal Ivica Osim. I remember that we Sarajevans were particularly proud because the manager and six players were from Sarajevo and Željezničar football clubs. We were better than Argentina. Maradona scored a goal against us with his hand, and sent us packing home. The Yugoslav-Swiss marketing agency IMS STUDIO 6 YUGOSLAVIA, which I led at the time, was the official marketing agency of the Yugoslav Football Federation in preparation for participation in the World Cup in Italy.
In February 1990, we won the competition announced by the Yugoslav Government for the selection of a marketing agency that will lead the Government’s campaign in the country and the world. Our job was to communicate the economic reforms to the Yugoslav public and to present to the world’s business community all the advantages for investments in Yugoslavia. We created the Time of Change (for local public) and the World Investment Competition (for international public) projects. We recorded the videos and broadcasted them on CNN. We also had the original idea of appointing ambassadors of the Time of Change project in the world, who would be prestigious people in the countries that we recognized as the countries with the highest investment potential for our country.
When Yugoslavia made it to the quarterfinals, we proposed to Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković that he should go to Milan and attend the match, that it would be very important. Some of the research we have done has shown that the government had serious problems in relations with the public who were unsatisfied with the economic situation in the country. The footballers played in Italy for the Government as well, because all the attention of the public was directed at the World Cup and the great games of our team. But Ante Marković didn’t recognize that. He said he had a meeting with a group of Motovun publishers and did not want to miss it. I asked him how long this meeting would last. “It lasts the entire morning and ends with a joint lunch,” he answered. As the game was played in the evening, I suggested he takes the official plane and fly to Milan in the afternoon. He rejected that as well. We tried to lobby with him through Vice-President of the SIV Živko Pregl, who was very fond of us, but even he did not succeed. Later I understood that Marković didn’t understand many things in his brief mandate. For a fee of one million deutschmarks Jaffrey Sax made dinar convertible, but Markovic managed to destroy its convertibility in less than a year. He simply wasn’t aware of the situation in the country. He spent the entire time watching himself. He was in love with himself. He fed his ego with the great popularity he enjoyed among the people, and thus led the country to ruin. I’m not saying he could have prevented the break-up of Yugoslavia, but he certainly could have done enough to prevent the country from breaking up in so much blood.
Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarović first recognized the potential of the Croatian football team in Russia, and we have already seen her twice in the VIP balcony. She passionately supported her country’s national team, and she deserves congratulations for this. However, apart from her decision to go to Russia, all the rest was a fail.
Croatia’s president and Russia’s prime minister in the ceremonial lodge? That doesn’t fit. If Putin had been sitting next to her during the match with Russia, President Grabar Kitarović would look good in that company, but with a prime minister…? As I’m writing this, I’m watching the France – Belgium match. French President and Belgian King at the ceremony. It fits. Definitely fits. I think that after Russia, the Croatian president should seriously consider her protocol, what it looks like, and how it’s managed. In the match against Russia, she sat in the VIP section dressed as if she was out for a jog. It’s nice to love your country and honorably serve it, but a T-shirt with the symbols of the Croatian flag in the ceremonial lodge – that’s a no-go. To put it mildly, she looked ridiculous next to Infantini and Medvedev in festive dark suits. If she had already opted for a pair of red pants and a t-shirt, she should have went down to the stands among fans, rather than collecting cheap political points in the Croatian public from the VIP lodge. And even her visit to the dressing room, to congratulate players on winning… It was inconsistent with the protocol that the Croatian president should have. I read an interview with the manager of the Croatian national team, who is sitting next to the coach Dalić on the field. Asked by the journalist whether she has the right of access to the dressing room of the team, she said yes, but added that she always first checks if the players are dressed, and enters only after that. Obviously, this wasn’t checked by the Croatian president, so she hugged with the half-naked players. I’m not some purist or a prude, but when something is unbefitting, it’s unbefitting.
I remember the Yugoslav cup final in 1989. Partizan and Velež played in Belgrade. After a fantastic match Partizan won with 4:3. In the trance after the victory, Partizan players pulled off their shirts and threw them among the fans. The ceremony was delayed because the organizers did not want to hand over the cup to the half-naked players. Since they didn’t have a spare kit, they took the shirts from boys who were catching the balls along the field. Since Yassa was a sponsor, the boys wore white t-shirts with a big Yassa logo plastered on them. Partizan won and got the cup, but Yassa got promotion that it could never have paid, because all the print media published the photos, and television ran the video of the ceremony.
Croatian president has collected a lot of points among the Croatian public, but when she returns to her homeland she should seriously analyze all the gaffes she made, and have a serious talk to the head of her protocol.
Tomorrow evening, at the match against England, Croatia will be represented in the VIP section by the Prime Minister Plenković, who will thus play the role of the first reserve of the Croatian president, who will not be coming to Moscow because of some previously agreed obligations. And it’s difficult to predict who will be sitting there if Croatia gets to the finals (and I’m sure it will). The president said that she would come, but that doesn’t depend only on her. There’s only one seat for a Croatian statemen there. And judging from the relations between the president and the prime minister, I think they will find it difficult to agree. Both need the political points that could come with the celebration of becoming the world champion. I’m rooting for Kolinda. Plenkovic reminds me more and more of Marković. He also spends too much time gazing in the mirror, asking “mirror, mirror on the wall…”
Zagreb, 10 July 2018