ZAGREB, 26 January 2020 – The creator of the nickname of the Croatian national football team has passed away on Saturday aged 75, the Croatian Football Federation reported.
The Croatian football team are affectionately known as Vatreni (the Fiery Ones or the Blazers), a term first coined by Samobor-born teacher, writer and journalist Josip Prudeus.
Prudeus first used the term ‘Vatreni’ back in 1996 when he dedicated an anthem to the team titled ’11 Vatrenih’. Since then, the name has stuck and has become synonymous with the Croatian football team.
Prudeus worked as a teacher in elementary schools and spent three decades as a mentor to gifted students at the Children’s Creativity School in Novalja and Novigrad. He also worked on radio, and participated in the work of the town of Samobor.
He was also a member of the Society of Croatian Writers, and in 2008 received a charter from Pope Benedict XVI for 60 years of ministry.
In 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the City of Samobor, and in 2009, by a decision of the Croatian Parliament, he received the Ivan Filipovic State Lifetime Achievement Award.