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Make Šuker Great Again

October 1, 2018






Dear Croatia Fans,





The honeymoon is over. The 2018 World Cup has officially cemented its place in Croatia’s rich history. The players have returned to their clubs, and Modrić was named best footballer on the planet.

So, what now?

We all want that summer back in our lives.



No matter where you were on this planet, whether it was in the Greater Toronto Area, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York, Zagreb, Split, or Zurich, to name a few cities, Croatians gathered together to watch with friends and family, celebrating the complete joy of being a Croatian and being on a winning streak in front of the entire world.

“Neopisivo” became the expression of the tournament – Indescribable – that feeling when everything is working in your favor and it can’t be explained. More than 10% of the population of Croatia – 550,000 people – welcomed the team on their return from Russia in Zagreb, in what certainly looked like a victory parade.

What will it take for us to do it again?

What does the HNS (Hrvatski Nogometni Savez/Croatian Soccer Federation) have to do in order to put the Croatian national team in a position where they continue to make long runs in the World Cup and Euros?


Talent allows teams to qualify for a tournament and have a decent showing. But World Cup winning teams like Brazil and Germany transcend talent with infrastructure, youth development, and direction to make them contenders every time they take the pitch – decisions which are made in the front office.

Croatia has all of that too, but it’s yet to blossom.

We all know that the HNS has been shrouded in darkness for nearly a decade. The Savez has been led by a Dark Lord, acting autonomously, and serving his own interests above all. He has siphoned money away from Croatia’s top club Dinamo Zagreb, created distrust between his regime and the football supporters of Croatia and led World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modrić and teammate Dejan Lovren into legal quicksand.

Croatian legend and 1998 Golden Boot winner, Davor Šuker, also got swept up into the Dark Lord’s force grip as president of the HNS.



A year ago, I was frustrated that a team with World Cup Final talent seemed indifferent to qualifying for the tournament. With losses to Iceland and Turkey, and a draw versus Finland, I doubted their commitment to win. My conclusion was that their losses were a protest against the HNS and against the Dark Lord and his reign.



But Šuker turned it around very quickly. With Mamić seemingly out of the way, Šuker made some uncharacteristic moves. He hired Zlatko Dalić, an unknown Croatian coach from the UAE, to lead the Vatreni into their playoff tie with Greece to qualify for the World Cup.



Šuker allowed Dalić the freedom to coach and did not micromanage his decisions – a move that empowered Dalić and allowed him to become the coach he needed to be to take Croatia to the Final. Sending an arrogant Nikola Kalinić home from the World Cup showed us that Dalić was empowered to lead.



Šuker expanded the Croatia brand by bringing the Vatreni to North America to play Mexico in Los Angeles and Dallas, and Peru in Miami in pre-World Cup friendlies before negotiating a friendly with Brazil in Liverpool. He has promised more games around the world including Australia and Canada. He is elevating Croatia to become a global brand.

Croatians are always critical and we have certainly had our fair share of criticism of Davor Šuker. But we must acknowledge that Šuker has found the secret to success and give him credit for his role in Croatia’s appearance in the World Cup Final.

Šuker is still the same man who led the Golden Generation to a World Cup semifinal as a player in 1998 and became a national hero and a legend in the process. The business side of football coupled with a Darth Vader choke by Mamić caused Croatia to lose one of its legends.

For Croatia to become a world footballing power and for us to keep the spirit of 2018 alive, we must support Davor Šuker and give him credit for helping take Croatia all the way to the Final.

We must acknowledge that at only 50 years-old, he is the most experienced person in the history of our nation to lead the HNS and lead Croatia to perpetual greatness.

Croatia needs to Make Šuker Great Again!

With Mamić being weakened by justice, there is now space for Šuker to take control.


Dinamo Zagreb’s youth academy is only second to Barcelona in Europe and the HNL has become more competitive in Europe over the past decade. Croatian football is on the brink of greatness.

But in order for Šuker to return to greatness, he must earn the trust of his fellow countrymen by  sharing our newfound value with ALL of Croatia. This means he must bring the national team to play qualifiers more often in Split, Rijeka and Osijek.



Too many Croatians feel divorced from the team, and resent the HNS for that reason. Croatia has only played qualifiers three times in 15 years in Split, Croatia’s second largest city.



While a new national stadium is sexy, and our players have certainly earned the right to play in a modern stadium, Croatians don’t want or need a new national stadium. Before any new stadium is considered, the HNS needs to ensure that existing stadiums in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek are full when the team plays. There are no better, or more passionate football supporters in the world than Croatians. When we are on the same page, Croatians truly are the 12th man in the stadium for our beloved Vatreni. So Šuker needs to empower Croatia’s 12th man, because there were some great 12th men/women in the stands during the World Cup.

Spreading the wealth also means creating better parody in the HNL. It is unacceptable to run a league where a team like Dinamo Zagreb wins the title for a decade straight. It’s not fun. It’s not exciting. It’s not good for business. It’s not good for growth and morale. How do you expect the youth of Split or Osijek to connect with an organization that obviously is working against their best interests? This causes division between the capital and the rest of the country.



The youth of Croatia have been ignited by the 2018 World Cup. Croatian kids now believe they can not only play for Croatia at the World Cup one day, but win. Kids now know that it’s possible to be a war-torn refugee and win the Golden Ball – Best Player at the World Cup – just like Luka Modrić.



But Šuker needs to use the FIFA World Cup winnings correctly and allocate necessary funds to develop kids ALL over Croatia.

Šuker is the leader of the HNS and he should be able to proudly walk down the streets of Zagreb and Split because he did the right thing and shared the wealth. But he also needs to start cleaning up his own cabinet to gain the trust of the people. HNS Executive Director Damir Vrbanović was found guilty of embezzlement but still remains at his post and even attended Croatia World Cup matches in VIP fashion. This causes distrust.

Changes must be made and the time is now. We must ride the momentum of the World Cup for the future of Croatian football. Small ripples will become tidal waves of success for the future if done correctly. I challenge HNS President Davor Šuker to make these changes now and return to his rightful position of being the legend that we all fell in love with in 1998.

How much fun did we have this summer watching the Vatreni take over the World Cup?

2018 will live in Croatian hearts for eternity. Our children and grandchildren will hear the stories of where we watched and who we were with.

The summer of 2018 was too much fun not to do it again.


The Croatian people need Šuker, and Šuker needs the Croatian people…



Do we have it in us to allow him to become great again?




Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 26 comments

  1. Ivo says:

    Put a bounty on the head of the next offical who pulls a bogus call on us. This will give us the greatest chance of winning the Euro or Worldcup. We are always skrewed.

  2. Toronto Croatia Toronto Croatia says:

    Ante you’re setting yourself up for “walk off the pitch” posts with this one lol

    By the way…these were some of the scenes in the greater Toronto area during the world cup:

    For the record i dont own that video so if anyone on here does then let it be known if you like.

  3. Rads says:

    I’m not sure if you had fun during the World Cup. Remember , you didn’t want the World Cup run to happen. Remember, you wrote that the players should not take the field in Dalic’s first game as head coach. You didn’t give him a chance.

    The NT does make a point to play in other cities in Croatia but Zagreb is the capital and all big games should be played there with Osijek, Rijeka, Varazdin and Pula also getting some games.

    Not Split though. No games should be played again in Split until the perpetrators are arrested for putting a swastika on the field. Next week Croatia will lose “millions” in tourist revenue by not having a few thousand English fans visiting for that game. Millions of dollars of economic impact lost because of these actions, not to mention the reputational damage that we still suffer from today.

    Poljud is also too dangerous as proven yet again this weekend by the terrorist actions of Torcida members. How can we keep fans and the players safe if we cannot keep firefighters and first responders safe? Playing in a minefield is safer for the NT than playing at Poljud.

    A few more points:

    1. It’s not the HNS’ job to create parity in the HNL. Bayern Munich has won 14 of the last 20 Bundesliga titles and the league, Germany’s NT and their development is doing just fine.

    2. Vrbanovic is appealing his decision. Croatia’s courts allow him to continue to working his job while he awaits his appeal. He should have the same legal rights as other citizens whether you like him or not.

    3. I don’t know or care how many Croats feel divorced from the NT but as the World Cup proved, they are a tiny minority. 95% of the population loves the NT, Thompson and is proud to be Croatian.

    We need to focus on the positive and enough with the haters.

  4. Soul Champ says:

    @ Ante

    Respect the article ..

    I’ll rock with Boban the captain and the #1 to Infantino.

    Boksic put us through in ‘98.

    Sat with Šuker years back.

    Homeboy couldn’t run the palačinke stand in Privlaka.


  5. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    @ Rads,

    1. I agree with you on Germany. But unlike Croatia, German clubs across the board are being run like proper businesses. Look at Pula last season, their players weren’t paid a penny for nearly 6 months. That doesn’t happen in Germany.

    2. The courts will do nothing. He will be innocent. My recommendation must come from the inside. The HNS isn’t just Suker or Mamic. It’s an 8-armed octopus. Suker likes the spotlight. I’m wondering if he has it in his personality to go rogue and start doing the right thing by himself from the inside out. That would require support from the people. And therein lies your Catch 22…he would become a national hero if he turned it around. But that requires putting yourself out there and not being lazy.

    3. And the 5% that feel divorced are causing all the problems. They are the loudest. Not good for business.

    Look, I want to keep the 2018 party going. We have the talent. We have the heart. We have zero structure.

    I’m looking at the present and the future. Which are both bright. It would be a shame if Croatia went back to mediocre after that World Cup run.

  6. Fx says:


    Great post. I agree no gAme should be played in Split. This past weekend is proof. It could of been fatal.

  7. anonymous says:

    Yup, few thousands English fans means hotels and airbnbs are being booked. Food and beer purchased on the regular

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s hard to take anything Ante says serious now after his “walk off the pitch” article.

    P.S. lets flashback to when Ante had the chance to ask Suker a good question in Dallas but ended up asking “Do you know who Marin Cilic is?” ….dumbarse

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious, is Dinamo Zagreb importing african and south american kids and using their time and resources to develop them instead of our own kind and then making them fake croatians by giving them a piece of paper that says they’re croatians?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think there should be something like a super league of central european countries with one main rule that you can only develop kids that are native to central europe, so you can’t sign any foreigners under the age of 23. So all the money/resources/time of this super league goes towards developing our own kind.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “But World Cup winning teams like Brazil and Germany transcend talent with infrastructure”

    Brazil is a third world country, they simply have a larger population that provides a larger soccer talent pool to choose from. And China and India does not disprove this simplistic math, it just proves China and India aren’t any good at soccer.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When I say “foreigners” in my comment at 10:33am, I only mean in the context of a would be super league. I’m well aware that croatians are more closely related to certain western europeans than certain eastern europeans.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Poland like other eastern european countries lost a great deal of intellectual talent b/c of communism/leftist utopia, either by being killed outright or escaping to the west b/c they could see what was coming. So Poland has had to replenish and now has an economy roughly equal to Britain, a reality of which if you had told any Brit would be the case 50 years ago would have laughed in your face. And do you know why this reality has come to pass? B/c “diversity is strength” as any religious fanatic will swear!

  14. Soul Champ says:

    Everton .. sad znate koje Nikola Vlašić !!

    Vlašić read that BS Kroos back pass and ate that for lunch.

    Concerned Kroos and Casemiro suck and ask too much of Modrić.

    Maybe they should have played Kovačić more.

    When will these folks learn to to RESPECT the NOGOMETAŠ.

  15. Anonymous says:

    @Zlatan Hrvat

    Ever since Kovac urged Ribery to be more clynical in the final third, Bayern have not one a game!
    Big mistake by Kovac.

  16. Anonymous says:

    As long as the infrastructure in Germany, Italy, Spain etc. is good, and our good young talents don’t stick around too long in the lol HNL then we’ll be right.
    Nothing wrong with the Bundesliga, La liga, Serie A etc. refining our diamonds in the rough for us.
    Those great leagues are as much a part of Croatia’s success in Russia as the HNS, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I also believe that the HNL should look to bring in more Africans, Asians and Latinos and the real good ones that can adapt to playing the Croatian way should be made Croatians and hopefully make the Croatian NT.

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