British Columbia, Canada
Teams: Montenegro, Man Utd, Partizan, Serbia
Scouts come up trumps for Zeta
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
by Aleksandar Radović
Ten years ago, FK Zeta – from the Podgorica suburb of Golubovci – were playing in the third division in the former Yugoslavia. However, they were a team on the up, winning promotion to the top flight in 2000 and competing in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup and the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup prior to the break-up of Serbia and Montenegro.
Now Zeta are set to claim their first league and cup titles. With eight games to go, they are level on points with FK Budućnost at the top of the table with their rivals tiring, and they will look to claim a place in the Montenegrin Cup final as they take on FK Sutjeska in the last four. The key to all of this progress has been the club's ability to scout out talent from all across the former Yugoslavia. "We have a good scouting system in every country in the former Yugoslavia," said sporting director Ilija Vukčević. "People watch lower league games and find us interesting players."
Zeta's best find to date has been midfielder Miloš Marić. Spotted playing in his home town, Uzice in Serbia, he moved to Zeta in the 2001/02 season and spent three seasons with the club, earning a place in Serbia and Montenegro's Under-21 squad before joining Olympiacos CFP and becoming a Serbian international. Marić was not Zeta's only discovery - brothers Nenad and Bojan Brnović, Branimir Petrović, Nikola Trajković, Milanko Rašković, Mitar Peković and Branislav Vukomanović have all found success at bigger clubs since leaving and have helped provide the finances for the club to discover new talent.
The current squad represent rich pickings for other club, and Vukčević was proud that Zeta currently boasted the captains of the Montenegrin U21, U19 and U17 national sides. He said: "Nenad Žurović with the U21s, Zarija Peličić with the U19s and Srdjan Ajković with the U17s – not only good players but good people. Zeta are small club. We give young players a chance because we can survive in professional football by selling them on but we also get good results. Our aim now is to win a double in Montenegro, but if we fail it won't be end of the world. We will continue to work in the same way."
Scouting is definitely a great asset to have. In any sport, if you have great scouting, you have a much better chance of winning.