Football: sports world bows to Ivica Osim

The news of the death of their coach of the century on Sunday came as a surprise, especially for Sturm Graz, not least for the black and white entourage, who, despite the rain, made the pilgrimage to Graz’s local mountain Schöckl to celebrate Sturm’s birthday on May 1st and his status as runner-up. Then club president Christian Jauk announced Osim’s death with tears in his eyes. “If we mourn together, it makes things easier,” said the 56-year-old.

“The Greatest of Storm is gone. He was a personality, not only in football and sport, but far beyond. A great role model for all of us. The Sturm family is mourning, will stick together and honor him properly,” explained Jauk. The fact that Osim died on May 1st, the founding date of his heart club, will be another black and white anecdote. He gave the people of Graz countless bon mots, including those for many Fans most beautiful: “Storm covers everything that is black in my life, everything that is white too.”

Mourning for the legendary coach Ivica Osim

Former soccer coach Ivan “Ivica” Osim passed away unexpectedly on Sunday. Osim was 80 years old, the “Zeljo bouquet” died a few days before his 81st on May 6th. The Bosnian led Sturm Graz to their first championship title in 1998. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Concern with former companions

Hannes Kartnig was also dismayed, under whose presidency Osim had led the storm to unimagined heights. “Now there is only one of the three Graz Musketeers. (Heinz, note) Schilcher died years ago, now Osim. That hurts me very much. Osim was a really great coach,” said the 70-year-old to the “Kleine Zeitung”. Osim even turned down an offer from Real Madrid because he wanted to stay in Graz. “Unfortunately, there was only one thing he couldn’t do. He was never able to show his joy,” said Kartnig.

Some of his most important pillars in the team can testify to the fact that he was able to deal with the players like no other, as Kartnig said. “He was terrific and simply brilliant – as a coach and as a person. He shaped a whole generation at Sturm,” said Mario Haas. “Everyone has evolved under Osim. He was strict, but also gave us a lot of freedom. All of us at Sturm will miss him.”

“Great coach, much greater person”

According to Haas, it was crazy that he died on May 1st, on Sturm’s birthday. “I think it kind of comes from above. Osim’s death anniversary is Sturm’s birthday, unbelievable,” said the 47-year-old. ORF expert and ex-Sturm player Roman Mählich also bowed to his former coach. “What did Osim do – that would take too long,” said the 50-year-old. “All I can say is he was a great coach and an even greater person. I’m really, really sorry and makes me very sad.”

For Markus Schopp, “the nice and interesting thing about working with Ivan was also how he managed to develop people,” explained the 48-year-old in an interview with Radio Soundportal. “People who are young and inexperienced, who will do anything to become successful as athletes. He still managed to convey the bigger picture to everyone. Being humble and knowing how privileged you are as an athlete.”

ORF expert Herbert Prohaska also spread Osim Rosen. “For me as a young coach, of course, someone like Osim was a role model. The successes he had with Sturm speak for themselves,” said Austria’s footballer of the century. “I was also able to get to know him personally, a great man with a great deal of knowledge about football.”

Expressions of grief from politics

Expressions of grief also came from politics. Sports Minister and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) tweeted: “Hardly anyone has shaped the SK Sturm like Ivica Osim. With him as coach, the Schwoazn became champions twice and made it into the group stage of the Champions League three times. As a Grazer, I felt his impact beyond football and really appreciated the conversations with this important ‘football philosopher’. A great man who left us today!”

Provincial Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP) emphasized that “Styria is grateful for the human life’s work” and “his attitude to the Yugoslav war and the siege of Sarajevo, which makes him a great personality. His sporting achievements, with which he helped Sturm Graz to the high of the century, are unforgettable.” Elke Kahr, Mayor of Graz (KPÖ), explained that Osim had a decisive influence on Graz. “Not only his achievements as a coach, but also his deeply human attitude have made him a personality that means a lot to all of us in Graz.” State Councilor for Sport Christopher Drexler (ÖVP) explained that “we will always keep an honorable memory”.


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