Refik Šabanadžović

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Refik Šabanadžović
Personal information
Full name Refik Šabanadžović
Date of birth (1965-08-02) 2 August 1965 (age 52)
Place of birth Tuzi, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Right back/Centre back/Defensive Midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1983 Dečić
1983–1987 Željezničar 82 (0)
1987–1991 Red Star Belgrade 62 (2)
1991–1996 AEK Athens 143 (10)
1996–1998 Olympiacos 25 (0)
1998–1999 Kansas City Wizards 21 (0)
Total 333 (12)
National team
1986–1990 Yugoslavia 8 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Refik Šabanadžović (born 2 August 1965) is a retired Yugoslav footballer.

Club career[edit]

His career began in a small Montenegrin club FK Dečić Tuzi. He was spotted there by Titograd's FK Budućnost and moved there shortly after. Before the 1983/1984 season, he moved to FK Željezničar Sarajevo where he became one of the more notable Yugoslav defenders under the guidance of Ivica Osim. He gave his contribution to the club's best European result, UEFA Cup semifinals in 1984/1985 season.

After four seasons playing for this Bosnian side, he left for Red Star Belgrade. He won three championship titles and one national cup at the club, but the most important moment of his entire career was winning the UEFA Champions' Cup in 1990/1991 season.

After that, he went to Greece. He played for AEK Athens where he was brought by head coach Dušan Bajević. There he won three consecutive championships in 1992, 1993. and 1994.

Šabanadžović then transferred to Olympiakos where he also played under coach Bajević and won yet another title in 1997.

In the winter of 1998, Šabanadžović moved to Major League Soccer club Kansas City Wizards where he came on the recommendation of his friend Preki Radosavljević. He played there for two years before finally retiring at the end of 1999 season.

International career[edit]

Šabanadžović's appearances in the Yugoslav national team were largely sporadic. With 8 caps in total (6 starts and 2 substitute appearances) spanning four years from 1986 until 1990, all under head coach Ivica Osim, the highlight of Šabanadžović's time with the national team was his appearance at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. Though he made 4 starting appearances during the competition, with confident defensive displays, he is mostly remembered for getting sent-off in the 31st minute of the quarter-final versus Argentina.

Euro 88 qualifying[edit]

Šabanadžović made his national team debut on 29 October 1986, as a starter in defensive line in the opening Euro 88 qualifier versus Turkey in Split.[1] National team head coach Ivica Osim (only in his 4th match overall leading the squad and his first one doing it alone as he previously shared the coaching duties with Ivan Toplak) knew the 21-year-old Željezničar defender well from their time together at Grbavica, and decided to include him in the team as a result of the injury incurred by defensive mainstay Faruk Hadžibegić, thereby causing a bit of a surprise by having a debutante in the starting lineup of a competitive match. In fact Šabanadžović was one of three players to get a start on their debut that day – the other two being yet another Željo youngster Radmilo Mihajlović (about to turn 22 years old) and Rijeka goalkeeper Mauro Ravnić (almost 27 years of age). Yugoslavia recorded a comfortable 4–0 win, with Šabanadžović putting in a decent performance. Two weeks later Yugoslavia traveled to Wembley for a pivotal qualifier versus Bobby Robson's England. Šabanadžović again got the start in defence, but unfortunatelly this time had a match to forget much like the rest of the Yugoslav team as they lost easily 0–2. He didn't feature again for the rest of the qualifying cycle as Hadžibegić recovered from injury.

1990 World Cup qualifying[edit]

It was almost two years before Šabanadžović saw national team action again. In mid October 1988, Yugoslavia played its opening 1990 World Cup qualifier in Glasgow versus Scotland. With the score tied at 1–1, looking to protect the draw, Osim brought the defender on for attacking midfielder Bora Cvetković in the 89th minute. Those few minutes were Šabanadžović's only action of the entire qualifying cycle as he got called up a few more times, but remained an unused sub. Yugoslavia finished the group on top thus qualifying to the final tournament in Italy.

1990 World Cup[edit]

The April 1990 inclusion of 24-year-old Šabanadžović in Osim's final squad for the World Cup came as a surprise considering he only played several minutes in qualifiers and had only one substitute appearance in the pre-World Cup friendlies – the match versus Spain in Ljubljana.

For the group stage opener versus Germany at San Siro, Šabanadžović was on the bench and didn't get a single minute of action. Due to the heavy opening loss, for the next group match against Colombia in Bologna Osim decided to reshuffle the defensive line, benching Zoran Vulić and Mirsad Baljić while giving Šabanadžović and Vujadin Stanojković a start. Šabanadžović played the full ninety as Yugoslavia recorded a hard-fought 1–0 win. In the final group match versus minnows United Arab Emirates, he again got the start before getting subbed off towards the end for club teammate Robert Prosinečki as Yugoslavia managed an easy 4–1 win.

For the knockout stage versus Spain, Šabanadžović again got the start and repaid the coach's trust with a confident display as Yugoslavia progressed with a 2–1 extra-time win. By now, Šabanadžović's stock in Osim's eyes was sufficiently high that the coach gave him the unenviable task of guarding Diego Maradona in the quarter-final versus Argentina in Florence. Unfortunately, the matchup ended very early for Šabanadžović as he collected two yellow cards in the span of only seven minutes during first half: the first for what the Swiss referee Kurt Röthlisberger adjudged to be improper behaviour during the setting up of the Yugoslav wall before Argentinian free-kick and the second one in the 31st minute for a foul on Maradona. Until the end, the 10-man Yugoslavia fought bravely, creating several excellent goal-scoring opportunities, but eventually lost on penalties in heart-breaking fashion.

Šabanadžović never played for the national team again. In total, he collected 8 caps for the Yugoslav national team.


In March 1993, while the Bosnian War was raging, 27-year-old Šabanadžović took part in two friendly matches as part of "Bosnia-Herzegovina Humanitarian Stars" versus K.R.C. Genk and 1. FC Kaiserslautern in Genk and Koblenz, respectively.[2] The hastily arranged team also featured many Bosnia-born players who previously played for the Yugoslav national team such as Faruk Hadžibegić, Safet Sušić, Mehmed Baždarević, Mirsad Baljić, Davor Jozić, Blaž Slišković, Haris Škoro, Semir Tuce, Meho Kodro, Predrag Jurić, and Husref Musemić. Though the matches only had humanitarian character, they were played with FIFA's approval and were widely seen as the first step in the eventual formation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team.

Once the Bosnian national team started playing official matches in late November 1995, Šabanadžović didn't make further appearances.

Šabanadžović lives in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina with his wife Zerina Dervišević and their four children.[3]


On 15 October 1987, only three months after transferring to Red Star Belgrade from FK Željezničar, Šabanadžović played his first match back in Sarajevo against his old club. Early on in the said league contest at Grbavica Stadium, Šabanadžović collided with Zoran Slišković going up for a header. The impact was so powerful that Šabanadžović ended up in coma for 3 days. He was immediately airlifted by helicopter to Belgrade and hospitalized for a month.

Luckily, he recovered completely and returned to competitive action about six months later to great success. Couple of months after returning to football, he was named to the Olympic squad taken to Seoul during summer 1988.


Red Star




External links[edit]