04.01.2023 16:41 h

Hadzibegic tasked with guiding Bosnia to Euro 2024 finals

Faruk Hadzibegic is to coach the Bosnian national team for a second time with the federation pinning their hopes on him guiding them to the Euro 2024 finals.

The 65-year-old former Yugoslavia national team captain, who briefly managed Bosnia in 1999, will replace Bulgarian Ivaylo Petev whose two-year spell as Bosnia's coach ended on December 31.

"We appointed Faruk Hadzibegic as coach today," Bosnian Football Federation (FNSBiH) president Vico Zeljkovic said at a press conference.

"The objective is to try to achieve a historic result and qualify for the first time for a Euro."

The contract was signed "for this year and for this qualification cycle" and will eventually be renegotiated, Zeljkovic added.

Since gaining independence in 1992, Bosnia only managed to qualify once for a major tournament -- the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Under Petev Bosnia managed only six wins out of 20 games, failing to qualify for the World Cup.

"I accepted the invitation with pride. I was always interested (in the job), but I didn't think it would happen. I thought I would finish my career abroad," Hadzibegic said.

"This invitation is a great responsibility, a great satisfaction and a great motivation," he added.

Hadzibegic will made his debut in the dugout on March 23 in a Euro 2024 qualifier against Iceland at home, before facing Slovakia three days later.

During his career, Hadzibegic played as a defender in Sarajevo, before moving abroad to Spain's Real Betis and having his most memorable stint at French side Sochaux.

He was a member of the talented Yugoslavia team that reached the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals but missed one of the penalties in the shoot-out defeat by eventual finalists Argentina.

Following his retirement, Hadzibegic coached teams in France, Spain and Turkey.

He was also Montenegro's national team coach from July 2019 to January 2021.

Bosnia are in European Championship qualifying Group J along with Portugal, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Liechtenstein.