Boris Bunjak is a much more famous football coach in the Arab world than in Serbia. The 63-year-old expert in Serbia worked in Sloga, Radnicki from Nis, Mladi Radnik, Hajduk from Kula, he was the first foreigner coach in Russia 18 years ago in Uralan from Elista.
He gained significant experience by working at the Red Star professional staff when Zoran Filipovic was the first coach. It turned out that the departure to Al Shab from the Emirate in 2004 meant coming to the region where football continues today. And it not only lasts, it is getting better results from year to year. Bunjak also led Al Naser and Oruba from Oman, Damascus from Saudi Arabia, Azam from Tanzania, Jadanarabon from Myanmar, Al Jazeera from Kuwait, Al Arabi for two seasons, and Al-Jahr again from 2017.
"Good results in Al Jahri have recommended me Al Arabia, one of the biggest clubs in the region and we had a fantastic season, we were the first, we played attractive, filled stadiums both at home and on the side. I already had the deal to become a Kuwaiti coach, but FIFA suspended the Football Association of that country in October 2015 and clubs from all competitions, even the International Olympic Committee suspended all sports due to the lack of harmonization of sports laws. "Bunjak's story for the Sport Club begins.
Bunjak was again on the bench of Al Jahre, and after the abolition of sanctions in early December, he took over the team of Kuwait, who hosted the Arab Gold Cup.
"We were defeated in a group from Saudi Arabia with 2: 1, Oman 1: 0, and against the Emirates was 1: 1. Given that Oman and the UAE played in the final (Oman won after the penalty), we can be satisfied because they decided the nuances, although the absence from the official competition for two and a half years left a trail. However, I am satisfied with the attitude of players and performances. The tournament host was originally Qatar, but after the sanctions were removed, the household was given Kuwait to revive football in the country and they were all very pleased, although this is the only official competition in the upcoming period because the opportunity for the Asian Cup of Nations was missed, qualifications began as long as the sanctions lasted, "Bunjak said.
How strong is the Kuwaiti league in relation to the region, Emirate, Saudi Arabia, Qatar ...?
"The league is weaker than the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I think it is in the ranks of Oman, perhaps stronger than Qatar, regardless of the stars there and their clubs are very successful in the AFC Cup, the second in Asia. We will see clubs next season in international competitions, although I do not think there is a big difference and, as was the case with the national team, the details are decided because others had stronger matches, "the Serbian expert said.
Are local football players pro?
"It can not be said that they are professionals, but they have players who could play in much stronger leagues in Europe. Bader El Mutava is a great striker who played 161 matches in the national team with 51 goals. Fejsal Zayed is also a great striker, there are still several players who could play in the strongest leagues, "Bunjak reveals.
How tempting is it for the coach to work with players who are already well-materialized because Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world? In support of this, they all come to training in the models of Porsche and Maserati.
"That may be the biggest problem for coaches in this country, how to motivate players. It's once a problem in England, Spain, Serbia ... It is necessary to establish such a relationship with players, to trust you and to know that they can learn from you. Here the social status of players is such that you can not motivate them with some kind of cash prize or premium. When they play for the national team - this is another story, they play with many motives that I saw myself a few days ago, "says the Kuwaiti coach.
What are your plans for 2018?
"I have a valid contract with Al Jazeera, but my club has reached an agreement with the Alliance to let me run a national team in friendly games that are normally played in FIFA terms, so the club will not be in the loss, and after the end of the season in May, everyone, "said Bunjak.
How satisfied are you with your home Al Jahri?
"I am very pleased with the current season. The others are in the league and others in our group and the Prince Cup. In the championship is led by Al Kuwait, who is also the strongest team, and we have nice prospects in the Cup Cup to meet in the semifinals, "Bunjak emphasizes.
It is known that a large number of trainers from Yugoslavia worked in the golden age of Kuwaiti football in the early eighties?
"As far as the first teams are concerned, there are no trainers from Serbia. My associates in Al Jahri are Petar Đenić and Boban Torlaković, but in the younger categories there are many trainers from Serbia and everyone is highly appreciated. Pajon, Karasi, Pavkovic worked in this country, and Miljan Miljanic left a great mark and opened the door, so we who are working now really owe our gratitude. Almost all the clubs have foreign coaches, from Croatia, Spain, Brazil, Portugal ... ", says the Serbian coach.
In this part of the world, with fewer interruptions since 2004, did you get into the mentality and way of life?
"I have been in this part of the world for a long time and I have gone a long way. There were also non-football stuff. It's not easy to raise the level of work to top level. It is sometimes hard for players to act as professionals and the problem is to once establish the tactical discipline needed to produce the right results. Here are the examples - We were preparing for the most important match in the season that could bring us a place that nobody expected. The two best players had a traffic accident on their way to the stadium, they came nervous and unhappy and one did not even play that day. That's just an integral part of football in these parts, "Bunjak reveals.
What sets you apart is your personal site, is that unusual?
"That site has been for years, and I think it is the easiest way for anyone to get to know the way coach is working. It's the official place where the latest news, information from games, video galleries, and my football philosophy," said Boris Bunjak for Sport Club.
All those who are dealing with football know how hard it is to survive in the unstable Arab football world. Boris Bunjak not only survives, he is progressing from year to year and by his work he confirms that in these regions there are always very high quality football experts who come to their full extent far from their native region.
Written by Vladimir Zivkovic