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Renowned coach Ilija Petković passes away

Ilija Petković, who coached the national teams of both Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro, as well as clubs in several countries, has passed away at the age of 74.

Ilija Petković
Ilija Petković FSS

Petković played 43 games for Yugoslavia between 1968 and 1974, scoring six goals. He was a member of the Yugoslav squad that finished runners-up at the 1968 EURO, playing in the semi-final success over England and the drawn first match in the final against host country Italy, who went on to win the replay.

Petković also played for Yugoslavia at the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany, scoring in the 9-0 win over Zaire. His club career included two long spells with OFK Beograd (1964-73 and 1976-83), as well as a three-year stint with French club Troyes (1973-76)

He began a much-travelled coaching career in 1990 with OFK Beograd, and also coached in China, Greece, Japan, Qatar and Switzerland, where he led Servette to the league title in 1994.

He coached Yugoslavia first as an assistant in 1997-1998, and then as head coach in 2000-2001. Between 2003 and 2006, he was at the helm of the Serbia and Montenegro national team, leading them to the 2006 FIFA World Cup final tournament in Germany.

Petković latterly served the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) as a member of the executive board and emergency committee, and was also president of the association’s expert board. “He left an indelible mark on Yugoslav and Serbian football,” the FSS said.

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