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  • Atajic will be cheering on World Cup new boys

    Atajic will be cheering on World Cup new boys

    By: Kenny McKay on 15 Jun, 2014 13:13

  • ATTACKING football is of the upmost importance to Bahrudin Atajić. Despite being just 20-year-old and starting to make progress in his professional career, the Celtic striker has a very clear understanding of how he believes the game should be played. Thankfully, so does his countrymen.

    This year Bosnia-Herzegovina will compete in their first FIFA World Cup as an independent nation after a stellar qualifying campaign that saw them bag 30 goals to book their place in Brazil - the fourth-highest tally in the European qualifying zone.

    Despite growing up in Sweden, Atajic is a proud Bosnian and is delighted that he can cheer on his nation this summer knowing that they qualified by playing the kind of football he aspires to play.

    And as he counts down to the Bosnia’s opening group game against Argentina tonight (Sunday), Atajić is expecting them to prosper in a difficult group.

    He said: “We are in a group that is difficult but it can be done. I really hope that we can go through to the next stage and I think beating Nigeria and Iran will definitely get us there.

    “I wish Efe Ambrose the best of luck for the competition but not against Bosnia. We’ve got a good first XI and if they all stay fit and with some luck as well, we could make it through to the next round.

    “To be honest, everyone is capable of producing a shock so I wouldn’t even say Argentina are safe to go through. But if you look at it on paper, I’d say that for second place, it’ll be between Nigeria and Bosnia.

    “We have some really attacking players just now. Vedad Ibišević is a poacher and a great finisher and he scores lots of goals that way. He and Edin Džeko are the most prolific goalscorers in the qualifiers, and we scored 30 goals in the campaign.

    “We like to play attacking football and that’s hopefully what we’ll do in Brazil as well. If you compare us to Greece who came second, we both had the same points but they had only 12 goals scored so that shows how attacking we are.

    “Džeko is scoring and that’s great for us because he’s an important player. He needs to be in good form for us but there’s other players like Miralem Pjanić at Roma who is playing very well and I think that he’ll be one of our big players as well. But every player just needs to be on their game.”

    Atajic he will be cheering on the Dragons alongside his family and the strong Bosnian community that resides near his hometown of Västervik, Sweden.

    Although eligible to play for both countries, Atajic was capped at Under-21 level for Bosnia-Herzegovina following his full Celtic debut in May of last year, describing the call-up as a great opportunity to make the transition from supporter to player.

    Having experienced Bosnian football from both sides, the striker is clear in his praise for the travelling support who he feels will be vital in helping the small nation prosper this summer.

    He said: “Obviously the people in Bosnia have suffered a lot and the football has taken their minds off of it to some extent and gave them some hope and happiness, so I think it’s a really good thing for us, going to a major tournament like this.

    “In Bosnia, people follow football the most because we’re most successful at it, but regardless of the sport, we are very patriotic. In the Davis Cup, there were big crowds going to support the tennis team, so most of the thanks goes to our fans who just give us so much support. I consider myself one of them.

    “I watched Bosnia a few times at basketball when they were in Sweden and then handball. There was a time when a team from Bosnia were qualifying for Europe and they were playing a team in Sweden and I would go and support them.

    “I think that’s what all Bosnians do. We support each other. Last year I was trying to get to France when we had the chance to qualify for the Euros but I couldn’t get the time off.

    “I’ll be watching the games back in Sweden. I was actually planning to go to Brazil to cheer them on but on this occasion it’s too far away as I haven’t seen my family and I want to go home and see them. There’ll be people who’ll be travelling from Sweden to Brazil and hopefully in the next few major tournaments I will play for them. That’s the dream.” 

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