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"Foreigners" playing for Croatia.

3709 Views 57 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  eusebio
Again we saw Australian born Josip (Joe) Simunic wear the Croatian jersey and shine against Slovenia. German born Prosinecki and Kovac are regulars, and a crapload of BiH born players lay for the Croatian Natinal Team.

This is the controversy. Josip Simunic and Ante Seric have openely been called "traitors" by the Australian media, and Australian football circles cannot come to grips as to why they chose to play for their "parents country" instead of their own.

Many hold the view that these players are indeed traitors and deserve no praise in their birthplace, going as far as calling them "dutiless", "heartless", scumbag traitors and the list of catchy names goes on.

I think that these players, of Croatian heritage, belong equally to their adopted country, as well as their homeland, in this case being Croatia. They can freely decide which country to play for, if they meet FIFA's guidelines.

Some beleive that this simply isn't the case, and have been very vocal in expressing their disgust with the likes of Simunic and Seric. They also suggest that we "stole" the talent from Australia by filling the naive footballers heads with fantasies about riches etc.

What do you guys think?
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Well....I guess each guy has to deside for himself where he wants to play. Some could even be selfish more than anything, maybe the feeling of these Aussie guys is that if they can play and make the Croatian NT, it is better for their chances in getting a big contract in Europe afterall the Croatian NT is and always has and always will be better than the Aussie NT.

I can look at the US NT...we have guys that were born in France such as David Regis. We had a guy born in Germany, Thomas Dooley, his father and American Serviceman who served in Germany and his mother German. Dooley was born and raised in Germany. Roy Wegerle who played for the US NT who was born in South Africa but had a choice to play with France, England, Belgium or the US, he chose the US in the 94 WC, even going back to the late 70's early 80's we had Boris Bandov a Croatian born in Bosna and moved to the US as a young kid, he played with the Cosmos and the US NT.

Just take a look at Poland, they have an African who plays for their NT (I think he is Nigerian)...look at the Germans they have a player on their NT who was born and raised in Ghana...France, I think half their team was born outside of France....it happens in other sports as well.

Each person has a choice and it is up to him where he wants to be and play. For every Simunic and Seric there is a Zelic, Viduka, Bosnich, etc who chose to play with their native Australia and that was their right as well.
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Australia has a right to complain. I know Croatians would be upset if it were the other way around. However, I do know Australians don't consider foreigners, like Croatians, "real aussies." To them Simunic and Seric are just a couple of "wogs". Does anyone honestly believe that Kewell and Viduka are considered the same by Australians? Not a chance. The fact is their team isn't that good, so the situation where players like Simunic play for their parents' homeland consequently becomes magnified. Simunic has every right to play for Croatia without feeling guilty, or having to be made to feel guilty by the ridiculous Aussie press.

Let them continue to complain and treat foreigners like they currently do. It will only perpetuate this type of reaction from players.
well said Jure, it's definitely a personal choice rather than some FA stealing talent. Heck, how many Croatian born players are there playing for other NT's? Strupar, Vastic...
That's the point...Josip Weber, Croatian born played with Begium is another example. It's all about the players choice. As I said, you can pretty much look at any NT and you could find someone not born there....another example, in the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, the Italian Ice Hockey team of the 23 players 16 were born outside Italy. Most of the 16 were born in Canada and either had Italian lineage or played and lived in Italy long enough to qualify for Italian citizenship.
Ye i think its also a personal decison and one they see as being better for their careers ect and giving them a chance to play in tournaments like the WC while they still got the chance.. cause lets face it besides a couple players australia has a very average team.

Its true what trikky says that Australians don't consider others, like Croatians, "real aussies." When Viduka played for the Knights he was considered a wog and copped alot of **** for kissing the knights badge ect... but when he plays for Australia he is considered an aussie... hmmmmm.

And the media and soccer australia ect go out of their way to make the so called ethnic clubs plight that more difficult.. fining us for every little thing and letting the so called aussie/english clubs off the hook... if u follow sydney united u will know exactly what i mean.

In a way i wish players like seric ect chose to play for australia, but also in a way im am glad they didnt cause the treatment of croatian based clubs in australia considering what we have done for australian soccer as a whole and the players we have produced in disraceful.
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we are small & proud country, and we are proud of our croatian heritage no matter where we are... I wouldnt mind if some american born in croatia plays for USA, although I really doubt many people do that... as I said previously, we are proud and we play/watch all kinds of sports, it is hard not to get hooked on our national pride... I know of ppl that cheer for croatian national team even if they are not from croatia, etc, etc
I think its also cool to see people of Croatian heretige representing the countries they were born in. It's shows how spread out we are all over the world. An example..Rudy Tomjonovich. He is a proud American of Croatian heretige who played in the NBA, is one of the better coaches in the league and coached the US National Team in Basketball.....or a Joe Sakic who won a gold medal for his native Canada in Ice Hockey and represented Canada well in many ice hockey tournaments....or seeing guys like Ante Razov who are part of the US NT pool in soccer....and there are many more. Its a good thing to see because it shows that we can compete for anyone and be one of the better people in their respective sports.

I'll give you a great example...Michael Peca of the New York Islanders Ice Hockey team and a member of Team Canada this past Olympics. He is a Canadian with an Italian background. Anyway, when I go to the Isles games, we get a game program, and in this one particular program they had an interview with him...so there were two questions that stuck out....

1. Q. What do you do in the offseason?
A. I like to take my wife and kids to Italy to see where my parents are from.

2. Q. Since hockey has such a long season, what would you like to do that you can't??

A. Go to Italy and watch a Serie A match and catch an Italian Cup game as well.

Anyway, I thought that was great.
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Not to mention other Croatian-Americans like Elvis Grbac, Pistol Pete and George Mikan

We have a great sporting tradition for such a small country.
George Mikan was voted as one of the 50 best players of the 20th Century.....there is such a huge list.

One thing that is strange though....Canada has a lot of Croatians and many Croatian soccer clubs, but they never really had to many Croatians that represented Canada on their National Soccer team...maybe someone from Canada can tell us....Canada is small population wise like Australia and you would figure that the chances are pretty good that a Croatian would represent Canada in soccer. America being so large lowers the chances but there were a few that did over the years...
That's true, but then the Canadian clubs bearing Croatia's name were mostly packed with recent arrivals from what I know. I have met a couple of people that played for Toronto, and the entire squad was temporarily living in Canada, maybe this is the reason?
Well, Toronto Croatian is a different animal. They "rent" players from hrvatska so that they can play in the torunament. Then and Chicago.

But, there are many players that were born in Canada, and many of these clubs have youth teams starting from the age of 5....but yes Canada has many first generation born Canadians who's parents came there in the 1960's and 70's.
Ero, I would also think that Australia has the same problem but the Croatian still have a large representation on the NT.
yeah, to an extent. There is a lot of talent in Aussie of Croatian background, and although we're not the biggest migrant community, we do take a disproportionate percentage to the Aussie NT.
spwolf said:
we are small & proud country, and we are proud of our croatian heritage no matter where we are... I wouldnt mind if some american born in croatia plays for USA, although I really doubt many people do that... as I said previously, we are proud and we play/watch all kinds of sports, it is hard not to get hooked on our national pride... I know of ppl that cheer for croatian national team even if they are not from croatia, etc, etc

Bravo spwolf I agree. But the problem here in Australia is, that kind of pride and passion for our background is taken the wrong way. People think that because we support a Croatian backed team and wear Croatian shirts to games that we automatically are disrespecting Australia and we are ungrateful to the country we live in. Of course not everybody is like that but there are many people who have those views.

I suppose the Seric and Simunic situation supports those claims but like JureM stated they are personal decisions. I don't even know myself if I agree with them but jebiga, for two players that decided not to play for Australia another 50-100 with Croatian backgrounds decided to wear the Australian shirt.

It is the same situation as Da Silva and Kwedi, the Dinamo players who may chose to represent Croatia. Again it is their decision. Professional sports is like that now. I mean look at the last Olympic games. We won a gold in weight lifting but in reality the guy (Peshalov) that won it hasn't got one bit of Croatian blood in his body.
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Well i dno if u can totaly discredit Croats in Canadian soccer, the problem lies in CDN socer itself, there is no true national league to harbor larger talent and foster Croat skill. The problem is the appeal of socer in canada and the shere scale of the country which makes a national league tough, couped together with high costs that are not sure to be meet bu league revenues. But it looks optimistic as Fifa is forcing canada to make a proper league or else they will be banned from international play. We did have hugeee sucess in the 70s with METROS CROATIA who won the north american socer league (true not al players were Croatian but a handful were) , so as it can be seen when top soccer is present Croats will excell in Canada. Plus Croatian teams from acros all provinces have been on many occassions provincial and national champs from the 50s to the present day.

But u raise a good point its weird how Croats have always been at the upper echelon of CDN socer but not many are on NTl team. Wel there is a Croat Nick Dasovic from vancouver who s presently on the NTL Team. I gues the only way u can explain it is if Canada has the soccer infastruture and league as Australia , a more professioanl atmosphere and commitment to the game where one can make a living (not jst ur local Croat team in a local league) would develop around Croats propeling names to the NTl team. Croatian faces would dominate the scene as they do in AUstralia. The growht of CDN soccer in general will precipitate a growth in CRO CDN soccer in general. The danger however lies in just as in australia the ethnic clubs are being pushed aside,, this is the case i heard if a national league is made, toronto croatia could very well end up taking a position in it (most likely in 2nd division) and a battle could begin to 'de-nationalize' the club as seen in Australia.
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yeah, I guess I lived in Democrat ruled USA for a long time so I learned how to respect people and their wishes... that may change yet ;-)

(hehe jurem :p)
The champs of New Zealand in the National League last year was Centra United, a Croatian team, with 4 Croats. The used to have a lot more, and as immigrants kids grow up, there are less and less players of that background.

They stll have the Croatian chequers on the away shirts and on the shield.
Sorry you guys,
I do not want to disturb your discussion,
but, as Toronto and Melbourne, respectively Canada/Usa and Australia are countries with a large hungarian community,
I guess there must be hungarian ethnic football clubs as well.

Do you have any further information?

Apart from the knowledge of a certain "Orange County Hungary FC" and some Cleveland regional teams I am still underinformed in this matter.

Sure there would be, not in NZ though.
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