Dzeko — from rubble to stardom

At 35, Edin Dzeko is each the star and previous man of a Bosnia staff he’ll lead towards France in 2022 World Cup qualifying on Wednesday, however he owes his lengthy profession to the time his mom wouldn’t let him play soccer.

One day, through the bloody siege of Sarajevo, the younger Dzeko requested his mom if he might go outdoors to play soccer. She stated no. A bomb exploded on the pitch, killing a number of kids.

Dzeko is within the autumn of a profession through which he has gained league titles in Germany and England. He has scored simply seven league objectives in 20 Serie A matches for Roma this season and none since he hit the winner towards Sampdoria in early January.

The future Wolfsburg, Manchester City and Roma ahead was solely six years previous in 1992 when the warfare broke out.

Soulless neighbourhood

Dzeko spent most of his childhood in Otoka, a soulless neighbourhood on the outskirts of Sarajevo, whose 30-storey brutalist skyscrapers supplied some shelter from Serbian snipers lurking within the hills above.

His father, who was within the Bosnian military, remembers that native kids waited for the gunfire to die down earlier than heading downstairs to hit the ball round.

“It was risky, but the children had to play somewhere,” Dzeko’s father Midhad, 66, informed AFP.

The skinny blonde-haired lad shortly outgrew the concrete soccer pitch nested between the skyscrapers, and enrolled within the academy of Zeljeznicar, one in all two main Bosnian golf equipment.

On the frontline

Since its stadium was on the frontline and ploughed with trenches, kids educated in a faculty fitness center.

His coach Jusuf Sehovic, who died of coronavirus final 12 months, informed AFP in 2018 that he remembered a child who “was only interested in advancing towards the goal”.

Iso Ahmetovic, who remains to be a coach in Zeljeznicar, remembers a passing drill involving seven boys together with Dzeko.

Some pensioners had been gawking on the train from behind a fence.

“At that time, Andriy Shevchenko was the best player in the world. I turned around and said, ‘Look at him, he’s the new Shevchenko’,” Ahmetovic informed AFP.

When Dzeko broke into the Zeljeznicar senior staff, he was “the same height he is now (1.93m), with probably 25 kilos less”, Amar Osim, the supervisor who guided Zeljeznicar to 5 nationwide titles informed AFP.

Exceptional qualities

“But he had exceptional qualities and an incredible ability to score goals,” he defined. He was “obsessed” and “wanted to become a real player”, Osim recalled.

Osim was one of many few to spot his potential.

Dzeko, who usually performed as a midfielder, scored solely 5 objectives in some 40 appearances for “Zeljo”, and was criticised for being too gradual and having poor method.

Jiri Plisek, a coach who had labored briefly in Zeljeznicar, persuaded the towering teen to observe him to Czech aspect Teplice.

After transport Dzeko out for peanuts, former Zeljeznicar chairman was quoted saying he thought the membership had “won the lottery” by promoting Dzeko.

Determined teen

But the lanky teen was decided. His teammate at Teplice, Samir Merzic, remembers a participant of “incredible self-confidence”.

“He was 19 years old when we played against Sparta Prague. He was facing Tomas Repka, who had just returned from England, a gladiator. But Edin faced him without fear”, Merzic informed AFP.

“It’s all in the head,” Dzeko’s father Midhad stated.

“Edin is solid, strong, stable. He has been through a lot in life and in football. He knew how to deal with pressure and how to cope,” he added.

Despite dwelling overseas for 16 years, Dzeko retains shut ties with Bosnia.

Humanitarian work

He does humanitarian work together with his spouse Amra, specializing in sick kids within the poor Balkan nation.

In 2012, he was at Manchester City when somebody reported {that a} significantly in poor health Bosnian teenager was being handled in Manchester.

“I was dozing in bed … At one point I saw Dzeko, him, his mother and his father. At first I thought I was dreaming,” Aner Zelic, who’s now 24, informed AFP.

Dzeko took care of the boy’s household financially, however above all, offered “moral support”.

“Whenever he had time, he came to spend time with me in the hospital.

“We played board games, PlayStation, cards. We didn’t talk about my illness, but about other things, especially sports, to make me forget all that,” the younger man recalled.

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