Wed, Nov 19, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Bosnia and Herzegovina sack national coach Susic

Reuters, SARAJEVO

Then-Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Safet Susic, left, reacts after his team lost their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Cyprus in Zenica, Bosnia, on Sept. 9.

Photo: Reuters

Bosnia and Herzegovina have sacked coach Safet Susic after a poor start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign culminated in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by Israel, which left their chances of reaching the 24-nation tournament hanging by a thread.

“The Bosnian football association [NFSBIH] thanks Susic for the historic achievement of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup and it will never be forgotten,” the governing body’s general-secretary Jasmin Bakovic told a press conference on Monday.

Susic was criticized for his tactics and team selection in Bosnia’s group-stage exit from the June 12 to July 13 tournament in Brazil and came under more pressure after a shock 2-1 home defeat by Cyprus in their Euro 2016 qualifying Group B opener.

The 59-year-old former international forward, who scored 21 goals in 54 appearances for Yugoslavia, was granted a stay of execution after draws with Wales and Belgium, but the Israel rout proved to be the final straw.

Bitter after the NFSBIH executive board unanimously relieved him of his duties, Susic said he was convinced Bosnia would have stood a better chance of reaching Euro 2016 if he had stayed in charge.

“I won’t feel accountable if we don’t qualify because the prospect of winning five of the six remaining matches and clinching a berth should be realistic,” Susic told reporters. “I hope the football association made the right decision, while I will take a short break and then accept one of the offers that have come my way in the past few months.”

Asked if he regretted not stepping down after the World Cup finals, Susic said: “No. I wanted to take the national team to Euro 2016 after reaching the World Cup, but the football association’s faith evaporated after the Cyprus defeat.”

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