ROME – A case of geopolitics (and nationalist pride, always a very strong component in the Balkans) breaks into the world of football: the coach of Montenegro , Serbian Ljubisa Tumbakovic , has refused to go on the bench in the match against Kosovo valid for the qualifications for Euro 2020. And his federation has relieved him of his post, as they say in these cases.
The 66-year-old Belgrade technician would have been under pressure from his country to boycott the game against the majority Albanian republic that broke away in 2008 from Serbia, which has never recognized Kosovo as an independent state . Even two Montenegrin nationals of Serbian origin who play in the Red Star of Belgrade, Filip Stojkovic and Mirko Ivanic, called themselves out of the challenge, played behind closed doors in Podgorica for racist chants against English players and finished 1-1.
The Football Association of the small ex-Yugoslav republic (FCSG) has called Tumbakovic's gesture an "unpleasant surprise" that "goes against his professional obligations". The Serbian coach, who has been in charge of Montenegro since January 2016, has coached Partizan Belgrade with whom he won six championships and three national cups. "Things that have nothing to do with sport have defeated sport and football on this occasion," the federation statement reads.
UEFA has always held Serbia and Kosovo in different qualifying rounds for the Europeans but it happens that players and technicians of the two diasporas find themselves facing a national team considered 'enemy' of their country. At the World Championships in Russia in 2018 there was great controversy over the gesture of the biceps, symbol of Albania, mimed by the 'Kosovars' Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri after the goals scored by Serbia with the shirt of Switzerland. (Source Agi).
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Source: Blitz Quotidiano