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Zlatkovic enters the spotlight

Published: Thursday 29 August 2002, 17.07CET
UEFA Cup goal hero Mitja Zlatkovic is looking to catch the eye of Slovenia coach Bojar Prasnikar.
Published: Thursday 29 August 2002, 17.07CET

Zlatkovic enters the spotlight

UEFA Cup goal hero Mitja Zlatkovic is looking to catch the eye of Slovenia coach Bojar Prasnikar.

By Kadira Malkoc

Mitja Zlatkovic was the architect of NK Primorje's UEFA Cup qualifying round first-leg demolition of FC Zvartnots a fortnight ago as he scored four goals after coming on as a substitute as the Slovenian club ran out 6-1 winners.

Relative unknown
The 19-year-old Zlatkovic was a relative unknown before the match which should ensure a comfortable trip to Armenia on Thursday for Primorje. Zlatkovic, who has been at the club since he was a boy, had earned his chance with some good displays for the youth side and how he took his opportunity when it came.

Faith shown
The former Primorje coach Ivan Buljan had been reluctant to give Zlatkovic a go but as soon as Borce Sredojevic took over the team in March last season the youngster was integrated into the first team. After such a wonderful start to his career there is already talk of Zlatkovic helping Slovenia's push for a EURO 2004™ qualifying campaign following their poor display at the FIFA World Cup finals in the Far East.

Slow introduction
"I slowly introduced him to the first eleven, I did not want him to burn out," Sredojevic said. "I was very content to see him explode like this in his first match against the Armenians. Also in the match against NK Maribor in the domestic league his shot almost broke their goal. He is a hard working young man, very fast with a very strong shot."

No hurry
Zlatkovic seems content at Primorje for the time being and is keen to achieve success in Slovenia, play for the national team and then, as with most players from the impoverished Balkans, find a good club abroad. "When I first came to Primorje I started with the youth team," he said. "I was working hard, I was patient, waiting for my five minutes to come. I want to use, in the right way, every minute I spend on the pitch. I hope I will have more and more of them and I am not in a hurry I can wait. I first want to make it in Primorje, then in Slovenia, but my obvious goal is to find a club abroad."

Taking advantage
"It was great luck to score four goals in just one match in an European competition. I have to admit that the Armenians completely opened their defence and I had a lot of free room that I used," Zlatkovic added.

Last updated: 30/08/02 11.14CET

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