61-year-old Ante Čačić has been named as Croatia’s new manager…
Čačić, who was one of the first football coaches in Croatia to get the UEFA Pro Licence, has been named as Niko Kovač’s replacement following a board meeting at Croatian Football Federation headquarters in Zagreb on Monday.
Kovač was shown the door after a disappointing 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan, and a 0-2 loss to Norway which put Croatia third in Group H of Euro 2016 qualifiers.
So who is Ante Čačić?
Čačić first started coaching in the late 1980s, and during his long 30-year career in Croatia his honours roll is not very extensive. Apart from achieving promotion to the top division with Inter Zaprešić and Dubrava, Čačić does not have too much to write about. He has managed clubs in Croatia such as Dinamo Zagreb, Zadar, Osijek, Slaven Belupo, Kamen Ingrad, Croatia Sesvete, Maribor, and most recent Lokomotiva, where he is the current coach.
Čačić also had a stint as assistant manager of the Libya national team after his friend Illija Lončarević was appointed as the manager of the side. During his time at Libya, he was chosen to lead their under-20 squad at the 2005 Mediterranean Games held in Spain. After losing to the hosts in the semi-finals, they won the bronze medal after defeating Morocco in the penalty shootout.
Čačić joined Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb in 2011 but was sacked just 13 months later after 49 games in charge. He did guide Dinamo to the UEFA Champions League that season but is that and a couple of 2nd division titles enough to be in charge of Croatia? Time will tell.
Čačić will get straight to work, with squads for the upcoming qualifier against Bulgaria due into UEFA at midnight tonight.