Vahid Halilhodžić: a Lion in the Atlas


Vahid Halilhodžić: a Lion in the Atlas Vahid Halilhodžić – photo credit: Icon Sport

He is one of those coaches that we will not immediately forget. Media, players, supporters everyone will be entitled to their share of Vahid. The lion Halilhodžić is in the Atlas.

Vahid Halilhodžić, the prolific goalscorer

Former footballer, Vahid Halilhodžić is a goalscorer born October 15, 1952 in Jablanica in Yugoslavia, a city currently located in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Of Yugoslav, Bosnian and French nationality, he was trained at Velež Mostar in Yugoslavia, before starting there in 1971 for 10 years, including one on loan at Neretva Metković, where he scored 6 goals in 17 matches.

Back at Velež Mostar, Vahid Halilhodžić will be ruthless with the opposing goalkeepers. Winner of the Yugoslavia Cup in 1981, he scored 117 goals in 231 matches before signing in France with FC Nantes to continue his ascent.

Among the Canaries, Vahid Halilhodžić will spend 5 years. From 1981 to 1986 he will be the pyrotechnician of a Nantes team, champion of France in 1983. This season, VH will even win the first of his two top scorer titles in French D1 (23 goals). The second will arrive in 1985 (28 goals).

After Nantes, Vahid Halilhodžić will go to PSG, 22 matches and 9 goals, for the last season of his playing career. In 1987, at the age of 35, he put an end to this prolific journey of 243 goals in 462 appearances, which will forever be engraved in the memories of French football.

Vahid Halilhodžić, the Yugoslav international

The exploits of Vahid Halilhodžić in club, will ring naturally in the ears of the selection of Yugoslavia. Even if he failed to win at the forefront of his national team, between 1976 and 1985, he would travel regularly with it. He will participate in particular in the expeditions of Euro 1976 and the 1982 World Cup. European Champion Hope in 1978, he will be the author of 8 goals in only 15 caps.

Coach Vahid

Renowned for his thoroughness, Vahid Halilhodžić will soon return to the arenas. At the edge of the lawns, he will erupt to become one of the most famous coaches of his generation. In Beauvais, Coach Vahid will start in 1996 before joining Raja Casablanca in 1997, where he impresses in just one year. Author of a double Championship – Champions League, it is a crown on the head that he will therefore sign his comeback in France to coach Lille.

So in D2, LOSC will experience extraordinary days during the passage of Vahid Halilhodžić. The Mastiffs will be French Ligue 2 champions, promoted to Ligue 1 in 2000 and third in the championship in 2001. For the Champions League, they qualify by eliminating Parma but come out in the first round (relegated to the UEFA Cup) in a strong group comprising Manchester United, La Coruña and Olympiakos. Elected best French coach by France Football in 2001, the newspaper which awards the Golden Ball, he resigned in 2002 leaving the northerners in a very good 5th place.

After Lille, Vahid Halilhodžić will lead Stade Rennais, PSG where he won the Coupe de France in 2004, Trabzonspor twice, Al Ittihad Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, Nantes and Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia. In the country of Luka Modric, he will also lift his last technician trophy so far: the Croatian championship in 2011.

Vahid the African

Vahid Halilhodžić gleaned his first major trophies in Africa: Botola and CAF C1 with Raja de Casablanca. A track record that links him forever with this land that he now knows very well. African football will especially remember his qualification for the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup. Coach Vahid then trains Algeria and falls against the future champion Germany. Final score 2-1.

However, the passage of Vahid Halilhodžić on the African continent is not a joy. Arrived in 2008 in Ivory Coast, the Elephants will experience with him a qualification in the World Cup and a series of 23 matches without defeats stopped by Algeria in the quarter-finals of the CAN 2010. An elimination which will earn him a dismissal in February, a few months before the World Cup. Dejected, he thinks of stopping football and decides to no longer train an African selection, before changing his mind and taking over the Fennecs less than a year later.

Coach Vahid in Japan

Vahid Halilhodžić left Algeria in 2014 and will be contacted by the Turks from Trabsonspor. A choice that he validates without giving satisfaction. Arrived in July 2014, the former Nantes will be dismissed in November for lack of results. A dismissal at the end of which he will quickly find another selection, Japan, for another great campaign, a World Cup qualification and another dismissal. In conflict with Japanese executives such as Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, he will be sacked on April 9, 2018 before the Russian World Cup.

Vahid the Atlas Lion

Behind his ouster from the Japanese selection, Vahid Halilhodžić will quickly find work. In his heart club, FC Nantes, he was recalled in October 2018 to bring order to the house. The FCN then finished in 12th place and Coach Vahid returned to the country where he was African champion: Morocco. Qualified for CAN 2022, his Atlas Lions are now expected as favorites in Cameroon.

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