Friday 12 April 2019, 10:07

Youth football competitions paving the way in Croatia 

  • New youth tournament pays tribute to Vlatko Markovic

  • Former Croatia international and national coach left indelible mark on nation's football

  • FIFA Forward funding helping see eight-team international tournament take place

With backing from the FIFA Forward programme, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), is paying tribute to national football legend Vlatko Markovic. Throughout his career he strived to develop the beautiful game in the Eastern European country, so no doubt would approve of an international football tournament.

A former international, national team head coach, football official and HNS honorary president, the Croatian icon also led the HNS as its president between 1998 and 2012.

The competition taking place from 10-14 April, sees Croatia's U-15 seven teams from all around the world compete for the inaugural title.

Group A saw Croatia, Argentina, China PR and Slovakia placed together, while Group B contained Serbia, Mexico, Korea Republic and Greece, with games taking place in Pula and Medulin.

"Vlatko Markovic left a deep mark on Croatian football, and he was especially dedicated to the development of young players,” said HNS president Davor Suker.

“With the support of FIFA Forward funds, we are proud to be able to organize a tournament of this kind in his honor, as this shows how important investment into young talents and their growth is to the Croatian Football Federation.”

Zvonimir Boban, Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, added: “Vlatko Markovic was very important to me as a coach. He was a true football lover and has left a longstanding mark on Croatian football with in his capacity as a legendary player, coach and the MA President.

“Personally, I'm delighted to see that HNS will honor Vlatko with this youth competition like pure token of his generosity towards the values of the beautiful game and of his contribution to its development.”

The final will take place on Sunday 14 April and it makes no doubt that the winning team will follow the glorious steps of its prestigious ambassador, still present in many football fans memories.

Tournament schedule:

10 April

Serbia-Korea Republic (Medulin, 10:30 CET) Argentina-Slovakia (Medulin, 12:15 CET) Greece-Mexico (Medulin, 14:00 CET) Tournament Opening (Aldo Drosina, 16:45 CET) Croatia-China PR (Aldo Drosina, 18:00 CET)

11 April

Argentina-China PR (Medulin, 10:30 CET) Greece-Serbia (Medulin, 12:15 CET) Mexico-Korea Republic (Medulin, 15:00 CET) Slovakia- Croatia (Medulin, 16:45 CET)

12 April

Korea Republic-Greece (Medulin, 10:30 CET) China PR-Slovakia (Medulin, 12:15 CET) Serbia-Mexico (Medulin, 15:00 CET) Croatia-Argentina (Medulin, 16:45 CET)

14 April

Seventh place play-off (Medulin, 9:30 CET) Fifth place play-off (Medulin, 11:00 CET) Third place play-off (Medulin, 12:30 CET) Final match (Medulin, 15:00 CET)