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Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday November 1, 2013 MYT 9:36:23 AM
by jason dasey for talking footie
Family affair: Bojan celebrating with Luka after winning the FA Cup final last year.
Crotian hopes to win Malaysia Cup
with Kelantan and leave on a sweet note
It will be the end of an era when my friend and former neighbour Bojan Hodak coaches Kelantan for the last time in Sunday’s Malaysia Cup final against Pahang at Shah Alam Stadium.
The 42-year-old Croatian manager has confirmed that he will be leaving the club after two trophy-laden seasons.
I’m delighted to see Bojan enjoy such success in charge of the Red Warriors.
Bojan has been an occasional pundit on Astro SuperSport over the past four seasons, adding value to our FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro and English Premier League coverage with his strong knowledge of the game ... and dry wit.
He also appeared on the first episode of Bola@Mamak in August 2010. Our al-fresco football chatshow was a finalist in the Best Talk Show category at the Asian TV Awards in 2011.
A couple of years ago, Bojan and I lived in the same apartment complex in Taman Desa for a few months.
We have children of a similar age and I remember how Bojan used to chase his livewire son Luka around the common area. I think he moved even quicker than when he played in the Croatian first and second divisions two decades earlier!
Bojan was a very handy central defender who had a tremendous leap from his days as a basketballer. For a while, he toyed with the idea of playing hoops seriously before concentrating on football.
Although he appears stern at times, Bojan has a good sense of humour. His e-mail ID includes the Malay word botak or bald — as if he’s poking fun at himself.
Bojan was a successful professional player in Singapore and Hong Kong, but he first made a name for himself in Malaysia in 2006 as assistant manager of UPB-My Team in a reality TV series.
He had stints coaching in Cambodia and China before landing the Kelantan job in March of 2012.
I remember his appointment well as it was on the same weekend when he was down to be one of our SuperSport guests for our HD studio coverage for the final of the English League Cup between Liverpool and Cardiff City.
Having to opt out to accept a head coaching position at one of the nation’s biggest clubs was a very valid excuse!
Having won the treble in 2012, Bojan will hope to make it five trophies in two seasons by guiding Kelantan to their third Malaysia Cup title. In June, they successfully defended their Malaysia FA Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Johor Darul Takzim in the final.
Another sometime SuperSport pundit Steve Darby will take over as Kelantan manager next season. Bojan is reportedly considering several offers in Malaysia and abroad.
You can be sure that our favourite botak Croatian won’t be without a job for long!
Jason Dasey is host and executive producer of Astro SuperSport’s BPL coverage and also presents BPL Turning Points, every Monday 9pm on channels 831/810. Twitter: @JasonDasey
> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own
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