The national team's qualifying exploits may have received the majority of attention in recent months but it is the story of NK Olimpija Ljubljana that has caught the eye domestically in Slovenia.
Starting in arrears
Slovenia will line up in next month's play-offs for a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup after coming second in qualifying Group 3. FC Koper's undefeated start to the league campaign has hogged the limelight in the Slovenian top flight but it is Olimpija who have the most notable tale to tell. The Ljubljana-based club began the season on minus two points after being penalised for unsporting behaviour, having refused to face NK Triglav Kranj last term. They have, however, put aside three defeats from their opening four fixtures and the departure of coach Branko Oblak to climb to third with seven victories in nine matches.
Ex-Slovenia striker Sebastijan Cimerotič's seven goals and the heroics of 16-year-old goalkeeper Jan Oblak take the headlines in the current setup but sporting director Simon Sešlar is keen to spread the praise more evenly across the club. "Players, coaches and management; we are all working as one for the same goal," he told uefa.com.
Olimpija's very presence in the top flight is remarkable in itself considering the club did not exist in its current form before 2004. Refounded as NK Bežigrad after financial concerns sunk the original Olimpija, the club would retreive its old name while winning four successive promotions to return to the top division. Despite having survived such upheaval and transformation so impressively in recent years, Sešlar is not content to tread water.
Just the start
''The team and management were new, so results are better than
expected but this is a sign that we are on the right track," added Sešlar, capped 19 times by Slovenia as a midfielder. "Everyone is doing their best in their own department. We have set ourselves high targets and standards but that's normal for Olimpija and for the city of Ljubljana. Maybe results are at the moment better than the organisation. We are not up to that standard yet. There are still a lot of things to be done."
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