Bosnia-Herzegovnian football has been mourning the death of FK Sarajevo president Salih Delalic.
Bosnia-Herzegovnian football has been mourning the death of Salih Delalic, one of the country's greatest players and lately president of FK Sarajevo, who died suddenly at the age of 54.
Only two days before his death on 25 October, Delalic was helping approve a historic new statute to allow Sarajevo players present and past to participate in the club's administration, provided they had played more than 150 matches for the club. Delalic's idea was to involve ex-players in leading administrative positions at their former clubs, with Sarajevo the first to put the innovation into practice.
Delalic took over the presidency of his former club in December last year, becoming the first retired player in Bosnia to take charge of a club, and in his short time as president, Sarajevo won the Bosnia-Herzegovnian Cup. Faruk Hadzibegic will now take over the role.
Delalic was born in 1948 in the small town of Zivnice in western Bosnia and he started his career with FK Slaven, his local club. In 1967 he moved to Sarajevo after they had become the first Bosnian club to lift the former Yugoslavian league championship.
Piece of history
His first season with Sarajevo offered European Champion Clubs' Cup football - and a small piece of history. After eliminating Olympiakos Nicosia FC in the first round, Sarajevo met that season's eventual winners, the famous Manchester United FC side of Bobby Charlton and George Best, in round two.
Goal at Old Trafford
A 0-0 draw in the first leg at the Kosevo stadium was followed by a 2-1 defeat in Manchester yet Delalic made history by scoring Sarajevo's goal that night, becoming the first and only player from the former Yugoslavia to score at Old Trafford.
'Loved by his team-mates'
Delalic played for Sarajevo until 1971, making 106 appearances, mostly on the right wing. "He was always loved by his team-mates," said Sead Jesenkovic, a former team-mate. "He was a quiet and hard-working player, and always had a book in his hands."
Delalic's two great loves were football and science. After retiring from top-class football, he devoted himself to his engineering studies while playing in the lower ranks of the Yugoslavian game, and went on to enjoy a successful career as an engineer.