We Should Embrace Our Balkan Temperament

Albinko Hasic

How many times do we have to hear it from Bosnian journalists?  Every time the national team(s) hit a snag of some sort –and especially after a bitter loss – there is usually a main culprit.  Our “Balkan mentality/temperament.”  That’s why we lost.  We’re just too damn hotheaded.  It’s our watermelon sized big Bosnian domes that got in the way.  Skill had nothing to do with it.  If we were even-keeled like those Nordic and Baltic (not Balkan) nations, we would be whooping ass and taking names.  Yes, that’s why Lithuania and Estonia are national teams to replicate (no offense Lithuania and Estonia, you know I love you).

I’ve heard this expression so much in my life that I’ve reached a point where I’m ready to embrace it.  Bring it on.  Call it “how I learned to love my Balkan dome.”  Perhaps, maybe just maybe, it’s exactly what we need.  More fire in our game.  More anger, more tenacity.  More ajvar on the cevapi (the hot kind).  Maybe if we showed just a little more of our Balkan temperament we wouldn’t have gone down against Ireland like a sloth in a cubicle on a Tuesday afternoon.

The way I see it, of course you need a calm demeanor and approach to the game.  Of course you need skill and technical know-how if you’re going to win in this game.  But if God also gave you a hot-headed demeanor, anger to boot and a head the size of Donald Trump’s ego, why not use it?

This is why players like Muhamed Besic (Everton) and Sead Kolasinac (Schalke) are must starters for me.  Yes, Besic looks like Dexter’s evil twin and Kolasinac resembles more of an Anjou bull than a human being, but they bring an edge to the team that is not only entertaining to watch, but incredibly useful and important.  When a bar fight goes down, you’re not gonna call up your friend Senad Lulic to partake, no.  All he’s going to do is down a wine cooler and get his coat.  And nothing against Senad.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy.  You’re going to call Mume and Seo (the criminal duo) when you’re in a bind.


Well the Bosnian national team is in a bind.  And we need more players with the same fire as Besic and Kolasinac if we’re going to last the full 90 minutes against top teams in Europe.  Even Ireland, for all of the talent they lacked, backed us up in the corner and gave us a beat down like a hopped up leprechaun laying a pounding on a dragon caught in a Chinese opium den.

We looked plain defeated out there.  As fantastic the smooth technique and majestico freekicks of maestros like Pjanic are – we need some steel to balance out all of the silk that’s making us drowsy as of late.  Seeing Kolasinac square up that Swiss lad like a piece of national cheese was thoroughly entertaining.

Of course there are times when too much aggression can cost us – and it has in the past.  That’s why we need a manager that will get the best aspects of our Balkan temperament out of our players, without succumbing to the negatives like stupid tackles and brainless fouls.  If we can somehow figure out how to harness the power without falling prey to its vice, we have a recipe for a unique brand of Bosnian/Balkan football.

That’s why, don’t hide that watermelon sized Bosnian head in shame.  No, no.  Walk with pride and with purpose.  Embrace the Balkan temperament.


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