Kemal Hafizović

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Kemal Hafizović
Personal information
Full name Kemal Hafizović
Date of birth (1950-05-12) May 12, 1950 (age 67)
Place of birth Zenica, SFR Yugoslavia
Playing position Winger
Youth career
1963–1968 Čelik
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1974 Rudar Kakanj
1974–1978 Čelik 87 (14)
1978 Toronto Metros-Croatia 12 (0)
1979 Maribor 13 (4)
Teams managed
1986–1989 Rudar Kakanj
1989–1992 Čelik
2000–2001 Čelik
2002–2003 Velež
2003 Čelik
2004 Čelik
2005 Velež
2006 Čelik
2007 Travnik
2008–2010 Krajišnik
2010 Velež
2012 Rudar Kakanj
2017 Čelik
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Kemal Hafizović (born 12 May 12 1950) is a former Bosnian football player and now a manager best known for his playing and coaching career with NK Čelik Zenica.

Playing career[edit]

Born and raised in Zenica, Kemal Hafizović started his career in the youth teams of NK Čelik Zenica. After failing to break into the first team, he moved to FK Rudar Kakanj where he was one of the most important players in the team during their period in the Yugoslav Second League. After his club was relegated to the 3rd division, he was the top scorer of the season 1973/74 with 23 goals. That attracted the attention of Čelik staff and he returned to his hometown club where he was one of the most influential players in the following four seasons playing in the top tier of the Yugoslav First League. He concluded his playing career with brief stints at Toronto Metros-Croatia[1] in NASL and NK Maribor.

Managing career[edit]

Some time after the conclusion of his playing career, he started coaching the youth teams at FK Rudar Kakanj. However, after a bad start to the 1986/87 season, he took over as the manager of the first team and succeeded at saving the club from the relegation to the 4th division. His next season at the club proved to be much better finishing as the runner-up. He continued improving the club's status what eventually led to him being picked up by his childhood club NK Čelik Zenica in the middle of 1989/90 season.[2]

Although he did not manage to save his new club from relegation to the 3rd division in his first stint at the helm of Čelik, his decisions proved to be crucial for the future of Bosnian football. Faced with playing in the 3rd division, he turned to younger players and gave them a chance in the first team. The players performed well and instantly returned the club to the 2nd division and later on had successful careers - Elvir Bolić, Mirsad Hibić, Nermin Šabić, Senad Brkić, Elvedin Beganović and a few others. However, Hafizović's career in his youngster-powered squad was cut short by the beginning of the Bosnian war in the second half of the 1991/92 season.

However, Hafizović would get his fair share of chances as the manager of his favorite club in the later years where he was the on-and-off manager for several times with the best period at the turn of the century where NK Čelik Zenica had some notable performances in the UEFA Intertoto Cup under his leadership.

He also had three appointments as the manager of FK Velež Mostar[3] and was also the manager of NK Travnik and the lower-league side NK Krajišnik Velika Kladuša.[4]