Missing out on the EURO2016 still stings, it does. It just seems like it’s going to be a free-for-all in France, and with other underdog teams like Albania and Croatia in the mix, it smarts to have to watch it from afar. Despite this, at least we get to enjoy a couple of friendly teasers in May, notably against Spain in Switzerland and at a smaller type tournament in Japan against Denmark and well, Japan.
GKs: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea), Ibrahim Sehic (Qarabag), Goran Karacic (Zrinjski), Kenan Piric (Sloboda Tuzla)
DEF: Emir Spahic (HSV), Ognjen Vranjes (Sporting Gijon), Toni Sunjic (Stuttgart), Ervin Zukanovic (Roma), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Edin Cocalic (Mechelen), Mateo Susic (Sheriff Tiraspol), Almir Bekic (Sarajevo), Aleksandar Kosoric (Zeljeznicar), Samir Memisevic (Radnik)
MID: Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Haris Medunjanin (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Muhamed Besic (Everton), Edin Visca (Istanbul Basaksehir), Izet Hajrovic (Eibar), Anel Hadzic (Eskisehirspor), Miroslav Stevanovic (Zeljeznicar), Tino-Sven Susic (Hajduk Split), Sanjin Prcic (Perugia), Haris Duljevic (Sarajevo), Mario Vrancic (Darmstadt), Srdan Grahovac (Rapid Wien), Baggio Husidic (LA Galaxy), Zvonimir Kozulj (Siroki Brijeg)
ATT: Edin Dzeko (Roma), Milan Duric (Cesena), Riad Bajic (Konyaspor), Armin Hodzic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Bazdarevic has recently revealed his latest 32-man roster. The usual suspects are to be found – no surprises there, but Mesa did have a couple of head scratchers in there. Notably, he has called up 8 (Yes, 8) Premijer Liga players. On one hand, this is understandable. There has been a push in the last couple of years to include them to push the profile of the league up and to attract the attention of foreign club scouts. Has it worked? Maybe, maybe not. However, with such a large roster though, it can work. It’s not like most, if any, of these players will become starters or staples in the concrete lineup. Is it good to take a chance and give some of these players a potential way out? Yes.
One of the most interesting choices is Bosnian Cup winner Samir Memisevic (Radnik). He earns his bread as a center-back and by all accounts, he has been excellent this season. A powerful frame combined with good decision making has been a potent combination. Memisevic has been the Wes Morgan to Radnik’s Leicester City-like winning campaign this season. An understandable decision by Bazdarevic since Memisevic has proven himself to be a dependable and capable tackler. Even at 22, Memisevic is still young for a centre back and could further develop in a stronger league. At the moment, Bosnia has a decent stable of center backs but they are either aging, as is the case with Emir Spahic, or simply mediocre (Bicackic, Sunjic). There is also the case of Zukanovic, who, although capable, can be streaky and a feast or famine type.
Besides some of the obvious starters such as Dzeko, Pjanic, Begovic, Besic, Spahic, Kolasinac, etc, there have been some notably returns to the national team fold, including long-lost son Miroslav Stevanovic who has resurrected his downward spiraling career this season at Zeljeznicar. Tino-Sven Susic, who had an excellent and very productive campaign in Croatia, also made a comeback to the roster. Susic could be a possible attacking midfielder to take the place of Zvjezdan Misimovic who was never properly replaced. Even though he may not have the pure technical ability of a Misimovic (who will probably never be identically replaced) he has a lot more stamina and physical ability. Misimovic was not exactly known for his back-tracking defensive skills or stamina.
Up-front, Riad Bajic makes a return, and a new face joins the fray. For the first time in the national team’s history, an MLS player has been called up. We’re talking about Adis “Baggio” Husidic (LA Galaxy) who has interestingly, been classified as a forward on the lineup sheet. For most of his career, he’s been a role player/off-the-bench type, although he does have decent technical skill and an eye for the goal from the few matches I’ve seen him in. It will be interesting to see where and how Bazdarevic plans on using him in the lineup.
As far as the younger grouping of players goes, Sarajevo’s Haris Duljevic and Dinamo’s Armin Hodzic are probably the stand-outs. Duljevic is expected to make a move out of the Bosnian top tier over the summer and could be a player to watch down the line. Hodzic continues to develop at Dinamo and could be a potential replacement for the aging Ibisevic down the line.
Overall, this crop of players is a decent array for Bazdarevic, although we haven’t seen any shock or impact call-ups that might surprise anyone. For Bazdarevic it may simply come down to fine tuning a standard 11 and complimenting the starters with bench players who are capable and can count on the experience to develop further in their careers.