Ivica Osim

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Ivan Osim
Ivica Osim - SK Sturm (1999).jpg
Osim, the head coach of Sturm Graz, conducting a radio interview in June 1999.
Personal information
Date of birth (1941-05-06) 6 May 1941 (age 77)
Place of birth Sarajevo, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1954–1959 Željezničar
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1968 Željezničar 166 (56)
1968 Zwolsche Boys 2 (0)
1969–1970 Željezničar 54 (9)
1970–1972 Strasbourg 58 (16)
1972–1975 Sedan 105 (16)
1975–1976 Valenciennes 30 (1)
1976–1978 Strasbourg 32 (4)
Total 447 (102)
National team
1964–1969 Yugoslavia 16 (8)
Teams managed
1978–1986 Željezničar
1986–1992 Yugoslavia
1991–1992 Partizan
1992–1994 Panathinaikos
1994–2002 Sturm Graz
2003–2006 JEF United
2006–2007 Japan

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Ivan "Ivica" Osim (born 6 May 1941) is a Bosnian former football player and manager.[1] He was most recently head coach of Japan, before he suffered a stroke in November 2007 and left the post. On 18 April 2011 FIFA announced that Osim will head an interim committee to run the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the country was suspended from all international competitions.[2]

As a player, he was a member of the Yugoslavia national team and played in the 1964 Olympics. As assistant manager, he won a bronze medal with Yugoslavia at the 1984 Olympics, and reached the quarterfinals of the 1990 FIFA World Cup as the manager of Yugoslavia.

Life and family

Born during World War II in Sarajevo, precisely one month after the Nazi German invasion of Yugoslavia, to Slovene-German father Mihail "Puba" Osim[3] who worked as machinist at the railways[4] and Polish-Czech mother Karolina,[3] baby Ivica's infant years were spent in difficult circumstances.

Following the end of war, he started playing football in the FK Željezničar Sarajevo's youth system. He graduated from the University of Sarajevo.

Ivica Osim is married to Asima and they have a son Amar, who was football player himself, and afterward he too became a football manager. Osim lived most of the time in Austria, in Graz.[5]

Playing career

Osim began his professional career with FK Željezničar Sarajevo in 1959. Osim is considered one of the best Bosnians to step on a football field who was known as a ruthless dribbler. He stayed in Yugoslavia until the end of 1968, as transfers abroad were prohibited for players under 28 at the time. In December 1968 he went to the Netherlands, to play for Zwolsche Boys. This stay lasted only three months, due to a knee injury. In 1970, he moved to RC Strasbourg and played the rest of his career in France, playing for Valenciennes, Sedan and again at Strasbourg.

He played in 16 matches for Yugoslavia, including the 1968 European Championship where the Yugoslavs reached the final, where they lost to Italy.

Managerial career

FK Željezničar 1978–1986

When his playing career ended in 1978, Osim took the coaching job at the club where he began playing, FK Željezničar Sarajevo. He coached the club until 1986, and finished third in the Yugoslav championship once, reached the Yugoslav Cup final once and the UEFA Cup semifinals once.


Ivica Osim won the 1991–92 Yugoslav Cup with Partizan having beaten his old club FK Željezničar during semi-finals of the competition.

Yugoslavia: 1986–1992

In addition, he assisted Ivan Toplak, coach of the Yugoslav Olympic team at the 1984 Olympics that won the bronze medal.

In 1986, he took over the Yugoslav national team. The first qualifying cycle for Euro 88 ended in failure with an embarrassing 1–4 home loss versus England. Contrary to expectations and custom considering the fate of Yugoslav coaches who presided over prior failed qualifying campaigns, Osim was not fired by Yugoslav FA (FSJ) largely thanks to personal authority of FSJ president Miljan Miljanić who wanted Osim to be given another chance.[6]

Osim's Yugoslavia rebounded in the 1990 World Cup qualifying, finishing ahead of France and Scotland. The team then reached the quarterfinals at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Osim also coached FK Partizan from 1991 to 1992, in parallel with the national team, guiding the club to a Yugoslav Cup title in 1992.

Yugoslavia qualified for the 1992 European Championship, but he resigned on May 23, 1992; as his family in Sarajevo faced Serbian bombardment in the Yugoslav wars. "My country doesn't deserve to play in the European Championship," said Osim, "On the scale of human suffering, I cannot reconcile events at home with my position as national manager."[7] Yugoslavia was banned from the event, and its newly independent states have since competed as separate nations. Osim's home national team Bosnia and Herzegovina had to wait further 23 years to qualify for their first major football competition, having done so for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Panathinaikos and Sturm Graz: 1992–2002

After leaving Yugoslavia, he coached Panathinaikos from 1992 to 1994, winning the Greek Cup in 1993 and 1994, and finishing second in the league in 1993.

Between 1994 and 2002, Osim coached SK Sturm Graz, whom he led to the Austrian Championship in 1998 and 1999, the Austrian Cup in 1999 and the Austrian Supercup in 1998 and 1999. Sturm Graz appeared in the UEFA Champions League from 1998 to 2000.

Japan: 2003–2007

From 2003 to 2006, Osim has coached JEF United Ichihara (now JEF United Ichihara Chiba) of the J. League and has built a contender despite the club's modest means. The club came closest to its first league title in 2003 when it finished third in the season's first stage and second in the second stage. In 2005, the club won its first major title, the J. League Cup.

On 21 July 2006, he was appointed the manager of the Japanese national team, following Zico, who had resigned following 2006 FIFA World Cup. Japan defeated Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 in his debut as head coach on 9 August 2006.

At the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, Osim failed to lead Japan to its third successive title, losing to Saudi Arabia in the semifinal and to South Korea in the third-place match on penalty kicks. He said, "I feel like I've dropped my trousers. Twice," in describing his own coaching performance, pointing out that he did not rest tired players.[8] During the tournament, Osim reduced his interpreter to tears during a dressing room tirade, in which he called his players "amateurs" following a 1–1 draw against Qatar,[9] and refused to watch the penalty shootout against Australia in the quarterfinal round, saying "I didn't see it because it was bad for my heart. I don't want to die while I coach Japan's national team. I want to die in my hometown, Sarajevo."[10]

Osim's remarks gained popularity with Japanese fans, and Words of Osim (オシムの言葉 Oshimu no kotoba?) (ISBN 4797671084), a collection of his quotes published in 2005, sold 400,000 copies and was on the bestseller list in Japan.[10]

On 16 November 2007, Osim suffered a stroke at his residence in Chiba, Japan after watching a Premier League game.[10] He recovered consciousness on 26 November 2007 and asked his wife, Asima, "What's the result?" of the game he was watching before the stroke.

He was then moved from an intensive care unit to a general ward at the Juntendo University hospital in Urayasu, Chiba on 23 December 2007.

On 7 December 2007, the Japan Football Association formally announced the appointment of Takeshi Okada, who managed Japan during the 1998 World Cup, to replace Osim as Japan manager.[11]

Administrative work

Football Federation of BiH: 2011–2012

On 18 April 2011 FIFA announced that Osim will head an interim committee to run the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the country was suspended for two months from all international competitions by FIFA.[2]



  1. Nikad nisam skrivao da sam Jugosloven (in Bosnian). E-Novine. Mario Garber; 19 May 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 "FIFA Names Ivica Osim Head of Bosnian Football :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 18 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kako ojačati i ući u prvi tim?;Plavi vjesnik, January–February 1969
  4. Ivica Osim;manijaci.ba
  5. ""Österreichs Spiel ist moderner geworden"". derstandard.at (in Deutsch). STANDARD Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Savicevic interview on YouTube
  7. Hughes, Rob (3 June 1992). "The Right Thing, Reluctantly". Retrieved 15 February 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Mulligan, James (30 July 2007). "Osim admits mistakes after disappointing finish in Asian Cup". The Japan Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Himmer, Alistair (10 July 2007). "Soccer-Japan coach blasts players, reduces interpreter to tears". Reuters.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Japan's coach Osim has stroke". Agence France-Presse. 16 November 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Okada set for Japanese national team". Reuters. 4 December 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links