Stuttgart – Predrag Pasic can look back on great moments in his career. In 1982 the former striker took part in the World Cup in Spain with the Yugoslav national team; he reached the DFB Cup final with VfB Stuttgart in 1986, and a year earlier he won the championship in Yugoslavia with FK Sarajevo. But the now 54-year-old does not describe any of this as his greatest achievement. The high point of his career for him is that he founded the football school "Bubamara".
Because the former VfB professional opened it in a special place, at a special time: in Sarajevo, during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. What made his endeavor even more difficult: his football school is open to everyone, regardless of what ethnic group or religion they belong to. And so Pasic brought the children of the hostile groups together in a sports hall under the most difficult of conditions – while the war was raging outside in the besieged city. “I managed to create connections between the children,” says Pasic. "It has shown that football is a wonderful way to make friends."
Pasic wants to convey more than football
At the moment, the Bosnian is again becoming the focus of public interest. Pasic is the protagonist in the documentary "Rebels am Ball", which portrays five footballers who raised their voices against injustice. Last week the film was shown at the Berlin football film festival "11mm", before it was shown on Arte.
For Pasic, his football school is a place “where children can learn for life,” he emphasizes. He also passes them on to language schools. The “Bubamara” has been around for 19 years, and more than 8,000 boys have passed through it. Pasic, who played in Stuttgart from 1985 to 1987, was particularly supported in the early days by VfB and its manager at the time, Dieter Hoeneb. Pasic got 100 balls and numerous VfB jerseys in 1993. At the beginning, all the children only wore Stuttgart outfits. “In the beginning during the war I had nothing. VfB helped me a lot, ”he says. Pasic is still following his former club. He is pleased that his compatriot Vedad Ibisevic plays such an important role. And he hopes "that VfB will achieve better results again".
There is still so much hatred
However, Pasic is not so optimistic about the future of his soccer school. “It is becoming more and more difficult to continue,” he emphasizes. He does not get financial support from the Bosnian association, the search for sponsors is anything but easy: “Many politicians don’t like that I want to bring the children together through football school. Nationalism is still very strong here. ”Although the war has been over for more than 20 years, there is still so much hatred, says Pasic. “I can’t understand any of this. One slowly loses hope. "
When Croatia and Serbia meet in the World Cup qualifiers on Friday, he therefore expects that many wounds will be opened again: “This will not be a peaceful game, it is impossible. Everything here has a political meaning, but that is wrong. Politics has no place in football. "
With the greatest success of his career, the football school, Predrag Pasic is facing big tasks.