Sunday, 12 August 2012

My football experience: Celik Zenica - Velez Mostar

Celik players celebrate with supporters following their
impressive 2-0 victory over Velez Mostar.
(Source: / Jasmin Hadzic)
Yesterday, for the first time in almost five months, I had the fantastic opportunity to get along to a football match of my local team.

Coming off a brave draw away to Sarajevo last weekend, Celik Zenica played host to Velez Mostar at Zenica's Kamberovica Polje stadium. Celik's usual home ground, Bilino Polje, was out of action due to current relaying of the turf. 

The local Zenica side backed-up their good result in Sarajevo with a determined 2-0 victory over Velez; and I had a blast.

Here is a little review of the day:

Under the wing of my partner's brother for the afternoon, we met up with a number of his friends an hour or two before the match.

As kick-off approached, the atmosphere around the city began to rise. It reached fever-pitch when 200 or so chanting Celik lads - Robijasi - marched down the street next to us. At this time, around 45 minutes prior to kick-off, we followed them towards the stadium
Robijasi Zenica on their way to the stadium for the match against
Once we arrived outside the stadium, I was somewhat surprised to see no-one from Robijasi had entered inside. There must have been around 350 guys standing outside and, put simply, they didn't look like they were going to enter at all. 

August, 2012: Robijasi Zenica.
(Source: / Jasmin Hadzic)
Soon, I took a guess and assumed that this was some form of protest. Most likely, I gathered, it was for the sudden jump in ticket prices for this once-off match at Kamberovica Polje; although the usual entry fee for Celik matches is 2 KM, the price of a ticket for this fixture, for unexplained reasons, jumped to 6 KM.

It is interesting to note how actions on - or outside - football stadiums often mirror that of issues in wider society. Locals commonly complain, for example, of their government(s) and being ripped-off without reason or excuse.

With players from both sides warming-up on the pitch immediately prior to the match, the hundreds of Robijasi present begun to make their voice heard, and their opinions known.

Loud chants of, "Sack the board" echoed around the perimeter of the stadium, while the fans outside called their own players over to the fence, with some asking them not to play the match out of respect.

Finally, some common-sense prevailed, and the gates were opened up for the supporters . . . free-of-charge. Awesome!
August, 2012: Robijasi Zenica.
(Source: ZenicaBlog / Jasmin Hadzic)
So, with the match about to begin, hundreds of us hurriedly made our way through the standard security checks and positioned ourselves to one side of the grandstand.

For the next hour-and-a-half, I jumped and chanted my voice hoarse like I haven't done in years. Really. I was slightly afraid I would suffer a heart attack from the amount of exercise and effort I was putting in! (Yeah, I should probably ease up on those bureks and what-not..)

Although I didn't have the best position to view them with my own eyes, there seemed to be around 50 or more Velez fans who made the journey from Mostar. Somewhat peculiarly, however, they were escorted out of the stadium - and the city - with around 20 minutes remaining in the match - as a precautionary measure to avoid fan trouble, perhaps.
Celik players applaud their supporters following their
2-0 win over Velez Mostar.
(Source: ZenicaBlog / Jasmin Hadzic)
Nonetheless, they didn't miss out on much. Celik maintained their 2-0 lead over Velez to extend their unbeaten run to two matches, momentarily placing them at the top of the league's table. The happiness on the faces of both players and fans alike was obvious yesterday; four points from these first two matches is a very positive start to the season.

I am already looking ahead to the next fixture which I can make in a fortnight. To be honest, I really can't wait. I had such a great time yesterday (winning helps, though, of course).

It is amazing. I love football whether it's at Melbourne's 'Etihad Stadium' in front of tens of thousands, or in the parks of Zenica in front of one or two thousand. It is my love and my addiction, and I can't get enough of it.

Click here for highlights of Celik-Velez!

Naprijed Celik!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic picture with bigger description about football which you have given on your site.By sharing it i feel very lucky now.Good bye.
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