Who does not know this famous name in FootBall World? Manager of Siberian Football team Ilija Petković passed away on 27 June 2020 after succumbing to deadly coronavirus at the age of 74. An ulcer burst leads to complications and he spent his last days in hospital in Belgrade while he also suffered from coronavirus.
For many years, he was the captain of the Belgrade side OFK Beograd and is regarded as one of the best players in the history of the team. He also played for the Uruguayan side Peñarol in 1971-72 and French club Troyes for three seasons.
He was seen 43 times while associated with Yugoslavia, at UEFA’s 1968 European Championship in Italy, and the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany. He was the key player in making a record winning victory of 9-0 over Zaire. In 1968 Yugoslavians were runners-up, losing to Italy in the final in a replay. He retired in 1983 and was made the coach and became manager of the Serbia and Montenegro national team in the early 90s.
The coaching career started for Petkovic in 1990 with his original club OFK Beograd and coached many clubs. He was associated with the Yugoslavian team three times, first as an assistant in 1997-1998, then in 2000-2001 following Vujadin Boškov’s exit after Euro Cup 2000.
As a coach and manager, he went through tough times when with the team crashing out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany at the group stage. He took ownership and resigned in 2006. After a break of three years, he returned by associating himself with South Korean team Incheon United in 2009. After that most of his time was spent at OFK Beograd playing. Serbian Foot Ball Association was amongst one to pay tribute to Petkovic.
As said by the governing body of the Serbian Football Association, “One of the best left us. Player, coach, manager, simply a legend. Our Petko, always smiling, spontaneous, ready for a story. A football gentleman. There is a huge gap left.”
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