I could see myself sitting down and having a deep conversation about the game with Amar Sejdic.
Montreal’s Berlin-born midfielder of Bosnian descent comes across as one of football’s more studious and clearest-thinkers, a description you suspect which also applies to his thoughts on life in general.
He’s neither cliched nor bland, yet delivers responses in an uncomplicated, matter of fact, clipped way leaving the listener unclouded and clear.
You get the sense his answers are not dressed to pander to whatever an audience wishes to hear. In short he tells it like it is, transforming thought into word and plainly, efficiently, speaks his mind. Trying to put words into Amar’s mind is probably not a good idea and one likely to falter.
Asked by IMFC Radio’s Gavino De Falco if he was ready to step up and become the regular #10 at the club, his response was routinely forthright, typically Sejdic.
“Absolutely. Some good players were here and they left. That’s just how football is. Roles get passed on as in any job. It’s up to the younger players to learn from older and more experienced ones, to be able to apply what they know and to develop into these roles.
“But for me yeah, I’m definitely happy to take the responsibility. It’s something I want to grow into. To play well for myself, the team, the city and the fans. It’s a work in progress.”
Deeper Footballing Matters
I brought up the old, historic Yugoslav link when I asked him if he thought any latent footballing chemistry might exist between him and new arrival Djordje Mihailovic. The question resonated with Sejdic, despite him never having lived back in the old country.
“I like that you brought up Yugoslavia. I’ve often wondered what the team would be like if it was still all one country.”
I could tell him how it was thirty years ago when Yugoslavia was the best team in Europe with its nucleas of Red Star Belgrade, European Champions’ Cup winners, back-boning the team. I was lucky enough to see them play in Belfast; Prosinecki, Savicevic, Stojkovic, and Pancev, all in the side. Probably fortunate for Northern Ireland too, defeated 0-2 as it was, that neither Boban nor current Bologna manager Sinisa Mihailovic could overcome injuries to play.
It was in the European Championship group from which they qualified for the finals in Sweden, where they were due to compete as FR Yugoslavia before UN sanctions caused FIFA/UEFA to suspended the country from football.
Yugoslavia’s place in the finals was taken by the country who finished runner-up in the qualifying group behind them, Denmark, and the Danes went on to win the whole thing.
There was also the night I went to Old Trafford in late 1991 for the Super Cup match when Manchester United were played off the park by a brilliant Red Star. Savićević was unplayable that night yet managed somehow to end up on the losing side as Brian McClair’s solitary goal secured an unlikely victory for the Red Devils.
The Yugoslavs were an incredibly talented bunch all down through the years. They just had this way of playing football.
So pleasingly the question was not lost on someone clearly aware of his background.
“I think Djordje and I have very similar styles, he‘s very creative, a high IQ player, likes to find the ball between the lines, can find that final pass, has great technique, a very good player. We really haven’t had the chance to play together on the field but I’m definitely looking forward to working alongside him this year.”
Ready For The Season?
Sejdic talked about how he’s seen a change in Wilfried Nancy since he assumed the head coaching role. “He’s more vocal than previously, when he was more reserved.”
And the former Maryland Terrapins midfielder knows everything will not yet be in place by the time the season-opener comes around next weekend. Instead he sees it as the next step of a work in progress...
“I don’t think you ever really reach a point where a team is perfectly gelled. There are clubs in Europe that take years to build a foundation, identity and culture. For us this is just the starting point with so many new players.
“Of course we have coaches and a decent foundation of players who have been around this club for a few years now, and that is great. But we have a lot of new guys too, so it’s about building relationships not only on the field but off it as well.
“It’s not going to be perfect by April 17, but it’s the foundation towards building a successful team.”
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 23). Recorded Wednesday evening (7 April), the TBIR team discusses CFM’s Florida rendezvous, the goalkeeping situation, the new MLS schedule, opening game v Toronto FC and the MLS pundits’ unflattering CF Montreal predictions... Plus all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine... Don’t miss it!
Also... great chat with CF Montreal’s new signing Kamal Miller recorded Fri 9 April (on a special episode 24) - well worth a listen...
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