Dragan Okuka

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Dragan Okuka
Personal information
Full name Dragomir Okuka
Date of birth (1954-04-02) April 2, 1954 (age 60)
Place of birth Porija, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position Midfielder (Retired)
Club information
Current team
Changchun Yatai (head coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974-1976 Velež Mostar 36 (3)
1976-1977 Leotar Trebinje 33 (4)
1977-1985 Velež Mostar 178 (31)
1985-1987 Örebro SK 64 (8)
1987-1989 Motala AIF 58 (11)
National team
1978-1980 Yugoslavia U-21 7 (2)
1981-1982 Yugoslavia U-23 5 (0)
Teams managed
1994-1996 FK Bečej
1996-1997 FK Čukarički Stankom
1997-1998 FK Obilić
1998-1999 FK Budućnost Podgorica
1999-2000 FK Vojvodina
2000-2003 Legia Warsaw
2005-2006 Serbia U-21
2006 Wisła Kraków
2007 AC Omonia
2008-2010 Lokomotiv Sofia
2010 Kavala F.C.
2011-2013 Jiangsu Sainty
2014- Changchun Yatai
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Dragomir "Dragan" Okuka (Serbian Cyrillic: Дpaгoмиp Окука Дpaгaн; born April 2, 1954 in Porija, Kalinovik, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a Serbian football coach .[1] As a player he was predominantly associated with his time with Velež Mostar where he won the 1981 Yugoslav Cup before joining Swedish club Örebro SK, the place his son, professional footballer Dražen, was born before ending his career soon after.

Starting his management career with FK Bečej, Dragan would win his first coaching honours with FK Obilić when he won the 1997–98 Yugoslav league title with them. Since then he has achieved success with Polish club Legia Warsaw and managed Serbian U-21 to a fourth place finish within the 2006 European Under-21 Championship. He has also managed several other clubs and is as of 10 May 2014, currently the Head Coach of Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai.

Playing career[edit]

Dragan Okuka started his football career playing for Yugoslav First League club Velež Mostar and in his debut season was part of the squad that narrowly missed out on winning the 1973–74 league title on goal difference to HNK Hajduk Split.[2] After several seasons within Velež Mostar's midfield Dragan would go on to win the 1981 Yugoslav Cup and Balkans Cup with the club, while also gaining a BA in Law from the University of Mostar. Having spent the majority of his career in Velež Mostar, Dragan would join Swedish football Division 2 side Örebro SK for a short period before ending his career with Swedish lower league side Motala AIF.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

After Dragan Okuka retired he would move back to Yugoslavia and returned to his first club Velež Mostar, where he took the position of General Manager within the team by 1990. His time at the club was short-lived, and he would soon have to face challenges outside football when his life would be disrupted by the Bosnian War in 1992, however in 1994 Dragan would make his first foray into management when he was hired by struggling Yugoslavian team FK Bečej and lead them to fourth within the 1994–95 league season.[4] This would be enough for Dragan to lead the team to the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup, where the club were knocked out in the group stages; however, despite this, Dragan would soon attract the interests of FK Čukarički Stankom, who he stayed with for one season.

Still regarded as one of the country's most promising coaches, he would join highly ambitious football club FK Obilić despite the questionable ownership of career criminal Željko Ražnatović. While at the club he would employ a 3-5-2 formation as the club won the 1997–98 league title for the first time.[5] Dragan would only stay with the club for one season, as Željko Ražnatović's ownership of the club came into question, and, despite having the chance to manage in the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League, Dragan decided to join FK Budućnost Podgorica the following season.[6]

After a short stint with FK Vojvodina, Dragan would move away from the Yugoslavian league and join top tier Polish side Legia Warsaw, where he would soon get them to play in a 3-4-1-2 formation and eventually aid them to the 2001–02 Ekstraklasa league title at the end of the season.[7] The following season wasn't so happy for Dragan, as Legia Warsaw were knocked out early within the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League while also having an underwhelming league season, which saw him replaced by Dariusz Kubicki at the end of the season.

After spending eighteen months out of coaching, he was offered the chance to manage the Serbia and Montenegro U-21 team, where he used a 4-4-2 formation to help guide the team to the 2006 European Under-21 Championship. At the tournament he would go on to guide the club to a semi-final position as the team narrowly missed the final in a penalty shoot-out against Ukraine.[8] Once the tournament finished Dragan would return to club football with Polish side Wisła Kraków, who were looking for someone to improve upon their last season's result of second within the league. Already several games into the season expectations were still high despite the previous manager Dan Petrescu being fired after a slow start; however, Dragan was not the manager to change the club's fortunes and was fired two months later after only eight games, with the club languishing in mid-table.

Dragan would move around Europe, first with Cypriot side AC Omonia, where he played a 4-2-3-1 formation with little success before leaving the club after only several months. He wouldn't wait too long before joining Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Sofia in June 2008; however, the highlight of his reign was a short stint within the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, and, after being unable to mount a title challenge during his time with the club, they decided not to renew his contract. This saw him move to Greek side Kavala F.C., but he only stayed with the club for five mouths and was replaced with Henryk Kasperczak. Deciding not to stay within Europe, Dragan would accept the management position from Chinese top-tier football club Jiangsu Sainty, who he joined half-way through their 2011 league season and within his debut season guided the club to their best-ever finish of fourth at the end of the campaign.[9] He would strive to made Jiangsu Sainty the Chinese Super League runner-up in 2012, with only 4points to equal Marcello Lippi's Guangzhou Evergrande at the end of the season. Okuka would receive the honour of Chinese Football Association : Coach of the Year for his wonderful coaching performance in 2012 and he was to gain popularity among soccer fans throughout China. Okuka won his first title for Jiangsu in the 2013 Chinese FA Super Cup bu beating Super League and FA Cup winners Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1. However, Jiangsu Sainty spent most time in struggling at the edge of relegation in the 2013 season and finally avoided relegation by beating Qingdao Jonoon just one point. The club decided not to extended his contract at the end of the season.

Honours[edit]

As a player[edit]

Velež Mostar

As a coach[edit]

FK Obilić
Legia Warsaw
Jiangsu Sainty
Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ Okuka was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina but his official nationality is Serbian. See profile at his official website
  2. ^ Yugoslavia - List of Final Tables at Rsssf.com
  3. ^ Dragan Okuka at Worldfootball.net
  4. ^ Yugoslavia 1994/95 at rsssf.com
  5. ^ Yugoslavia 1997/98 at rsssf.com
  6. ^ Top 10 Club Takeovers at goal.com
  7. ^ Poland Final Tables (1st and 2nd level) at rsssf.com
  8. ^ Penalty drama goes Ukraine's way at uefa.com
  9. ^ Okuka follows in the footsteps at Sportske.net

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Ivan Jovanović
Serbian Coach of the Year
2012
Succeeded by
Ljubinko Drulović