UEFA President Michel Platini has opened the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH)'s new training centre, built with UEFA's help and located in Zenica.
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UEFA President Michel Platini has visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to open the national association’s new training centre.
The centre is located on a hill above the city of Zenica, some 70km north of Sarajevo, and was built with the help of UEFA's HatTrick assistance programme on behalf of its national associations. The municipality of Zenica ceded the land, and helped build the necessary infrastructures for the centre, which is set to breed considerable numbers of talented men and women footballers in the years to come.
Mr Platini and UEFA deputy general secretary Theodore Theodoridis were joined at the opening ceremony by numerous guests from home and abroad, including the president of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH) Elvedin Begić, the association's general secretary Jasmin Baković, the former chairman of the NFSBiH normalisation committee, Ivica Osim, Bosnia and Herzegovina national coach Safet Sušić, his assistant Borče Sredojević and players Emir Spahić and Senad Lulić.
The superbly appointed training centre has one natural grass and one artificial turf pitch. The complex also contains, among other things, accommodation units with 24 double rooms, meeting rooms, a restaurant and leisure facilities. The country's national teams will prepare for matches here, and Elvedin Begić emphasised its importance, thanking those who had contributed to its construction.
"I am happy that Michel Platini helped the realisation of our desires," he said. "Thanks also goes to the mayor of Zenica, Husejin Smajlović, with whose support we now have a a training centre where our talents will develop." Bosnia and Herzegovina are striving to reach the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, and are currently top of their qualifying group with 16 points from their six matches so far.
"Congratulations on this training centre," added Mr Platini. "This region loves football, and I wish you all the best." The UEFA President thanked those who had helped to bring about a situation of stability in football in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in particular Ivica Osim, who had helped point the direction forward. Platini also thanked the Mayor of Zenica for the cooperation and assistance given to the association in the construction of the centre.
After festivities which included football matches involving 160 boys and girls from across the country, Mr Platini and Elvedin Begić unveiled a statue to open the centre.