Sad news for Serbia and Serbian football. Ilija Petković passed away. The legendary player, member of the national team, then coach and Head-Coach of the first National Team, has left an indelible mark in football of Yugoslav and Serbian football. He died in the moments when he was the first man of the Football Association of Belgrade, president of the FSS Board of Experts, member of the Executive Board and the Committee for Urgent Matters of the FSS.
He was a participant in the World Cup both as a player (1974) and as National Coach (2006). The football planet does not remember many such names… In 1974, he was the only “foreigner” in our national team. He gave a lot to football as a player, and then as a coach, and National Coach. We remember when he took over the best national team in the moments when many were unwilling to do so, being afraid of great responsibilities, because the result was sought now and immediately. Petko made half of Belgrade to take the streets to celebrate the victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, and qualification for the 2006 FIFA World CupTM. The world talked about the Serbian defense, an almost unreal result in those qualifications.
He was always there for his football association, his OFK Beograd. Football always needed „Petko“, and Petko couldn’t do without football.
The world of football is saying farewell to a great legend, FIFA among the first. Legends never die.