Matjaž Kek

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Matjaž Kek
Matjaž Kek.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1961-09-09) 9 September 1961 (age 53)
Place of birth Maribor, SFR Yugoslavia
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Rijeka (manager)
Youth career
–1980 Železničar Maribor
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1980 Železničar Maribor
1980–1985 Maribor 114 (36)
1985–1988 Spittal/Drau
1988–1995 GAK
1995–1999 Maribor 126 (17)
National team
1992 Slovenia 1 (0)
Teams managed
2000 Maribor (assistant/caretaker)
2001 Maribor (assistant/caretaker)
2002–2004 Maribor
2006 Slovenia U15
2006–2007 Slovenia U16
2007–2011 Slovenia
2011–2012 Al-Ittihad
2013– Rijeka
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Matjaž Kek (born 9 September 1961) is a former Slovenian footballer and current manager of Croatian club HNK Rijeka. He is the former manager of the Slovenia national team.

Club career[edit]

Kek started his professional football career at his home club Maribor in 1979,[1] before moving to the Austrian club Spittal/Drau in 1985, where he spent 3 seasons. He then transferred to another Austrian club, GAK of the Austrian Bundesliga where he played for 7 years. After that he returned to Maribor, where from 1995 to 1999 he won 3 Slovenian league titles, before retiring. He spent most of his career playing in defense, mostly in the centre back position and was known for his leadership abilities.

Managerial career[edit]

After finishing his career as a player, Kek stayed at Maribor, serving as an assistant coach for one season, before being appointed manager in 2000. He immediately won the league title in the 2000–01 season. Under his guidance the team won the league again in 2003. In 2006 he was the coach of the Slovenian under-15 and under-16 national football teams. On 3 January 2007, Kek was appointed manager of the Slovenia national team, which he led to the 2010 FIFA World Cup after beating Russia in the play-offs.

On 24 October 2011, after the unsuccessful UEFA Euro 2012 qualifications, Kek and the Football Association of Slovenia came to a mutual agreement on the early termination of his contract.[2] He was succeeded by Slaviša Stojanović. Kek then became the head coach of Saudi Arabian giants Al Ittihad, however, his brief encounter with the Arabian football finished abruptly when he was sacked couple of weeks later, on 8 February 2012.[3]

On 27 February 2013, after more than a year without coaching, Kek took over Croatian top division club HNK Rijeka.[4] In his first season he led the club to the group stages of the UEFA Europa League tournament.

Personal life[edit]

The Kek family always had close ties with NK Maribor. Matjaž's father, Franc Kek, played for Maribor during the early 1960s, earning 50 league appearances for the club and scoring one goal in the process.[5] His son Matjaž (born 1991) is also a footballer.

See also[edit]