We present to you the assistant coach of football club Primeiro de Agosto, Adnan Hodžić.
Before we start, tell us something about yourself. How did the coaching life take you all the way up to distant Angola? Did a successful playing career lead you to dive in the coaching waters?
Well, I started playing football in my hometown of Travnik, where I went through all the junior and senior categories. But because of a few occurring injuries, I had to end my playing career when I was only 26 years old. Then I focused on my coaching path, which I started as the founder of the Bubamara football school in Travnik, after which I became the head of the youth department at NK Travnik. Meanwhile I studied at the Football federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I acquired UEFA Pro coaching license and graduated at football club Ferencvaros in Hungary. I also worked on selective camps in Travnik for GNK Dinamo Zagreb, while I was assistant coach at NK Travnik. In 2013, I was called to Angola to head the youth academy of Primeira de Agosto, and a year after I started as an assistant coach for their senior team.
You work under the guidance of head coach Dragan Jović along with Nedžad Selimović and the rest of the Angolan coaching staff. What is the biggest difference between Angolan and Bosnian league, which one is better developed? Building a new stadium is planned as well?
By the invitation of coach Selimović, former head coach of NK Travnik, I arrived in Angola and coach Jović came afterwards. The moment I arrived in Luanda, the city from which the club is from, I was surprised to see how much the whole town is “breathing” for football. Angolan football league is much better than BiH league, because the club budgets are much bigger and the infrastructure is more developed. For example, our club functions as a sport society (football, basketball, handball and volleyball players play under the same club), and the owner is military company that invests heavily into sports. Many international players play in the league, such as Brazilians (the legendary Rivaldo played here in 2012), the Portuguese and the Spaniards, and along with a large number of domestic talents, make the league more attractive – and football played much faster and better.
The new stadium should be completed over the next two years, with a capacity of 20,000 seats, within a modern sports complex that will include: youth academy, faculty, training camp, Olympic swimming pool and a large sports hall. We are currently performing at the city stadium of Luanda, which was built for the Africa Cup of Nations 2010 – that we regularly fill with up to 40,000 passionate supporters.
Working alongside coach Jović, are there any certain requirements that he sets, to both players and the rest of the coaching staff? Which elements are the most important to him regarding the training and analysis part? Are there any issues in accepting those requirements – for example, because of the language barrier?
The biggest requirement that he sets is the need for detailed analysis of our matches and scouting of future opponents. I am in charge of those two segments, and based on my analysis we prepare the training. The trainings are mainly based on identifying and correcting the team’s weaknesses detected by the detailed match analysis. We attach great importance to physical preparation and individual talks with the players, all in order to correct the existing problems. Based on the analysis of our matches I identify the problem and suggest tactical training to the head coach – in order to solve that specific problem. For example, if the problem is transition from defense to attack, we divide the team into two segments: the players who are pressing on the defending line, and the defending players from whom we expect co-operation with the midfielders – to takeoff the ball successfully. The same is with scouting our future opponents, after analyzing their strengths and weaknesses I suggest to the coaching staff a training plan for a certain period. In my opinion, adapting the training is the best approach to address the problem effectively, thanks to an analysis that has warned us about possible weaknesses in our game.
As far as the issues are concerned, they do not exist. The official language is the Portuguese, which we quickly mastered ourselves. After the first three months in Angola I already started using Portuguese in the communication with players, because the club has provided us with the Portuguese professors. If needed we also use the English language.
You use Once’s Video Analyser for over a year. How does the club conduct the analysis process and prepare the players for the matches? Does the drawing tool help you with the analysis?
I have been using the Once Video Analyser for more than a year, and it helps me greatly in analyzing and scouting. Until we came to the club, such work was unknown in Angola, as they used old methods of analysis – without IT support. In the game I am analyzing, I cut certain segments of the game that I find important for our preparation. If we prepare for a rival match, sometimes I cut positive segments to motivate the team before the upcoming match. All those clips I present to the players and the coaching staff, and if necessary to the club management headed by the president. I like the software mostly because of the simplicity of usage and the time it saves. Also because of it I don’t depend on anyone and software has become my main assistant. Often I film matches and trainings with my iPad, or I use a television recording, which I afterwards analyze in the Once Video Analyser and in a short time I’m ready for the presentation.
The drawing tool is the most useful for presenting to players, as it best indicates the game elements that need to be fixed and alert the players about the opponent’s advantages. While I see Video Analyser as an ideal partner in video analysis, I would also like to praise the Once Pro app, which provided me with top-level statistical analysis of the matches.
With the rest of the coaching staff, you are one of the crucial elements for De Agosto winning the league title last year. How do you look at such success in the country with nearly 25 million people? How did it feel to celebrate the title in front of the 50,000 fans at the stadium?
The success we achieved meant that we are on the right track, especially when we consider that the title came after the ten years of waiting. To that title we also added the Angolan Super cup title, while also fighting for another league title this year. In the work of the club we included our own fitness coach, team doctor and the results arrived immediately. The best sign of our good work is the departure of our best players Gelson and Papel, who scored combining 35 goals last season, to the famous club Sporting Lisbon.
As far as the fans are concerned, I have never experienced such a passion for football, as 50,000 fans in the stadium support their team with whole heart – “living for every move on the pitch”. I would also praise the fairness they show to each other, rival fans all go to matches together, without any incidents or problems – something that football fans in Europe could learn from.
Future? Plans? Return to Bosnia and Herzegovina or continuing successful work in Angola?
Currently I am contracted to the club for the current and the next season, so my only plan for now is working with the team to defend the title. Of course I am connected to Bosnia because of my family and my desire to be with them, and like every young coach I would like to try a role of a head coach somewhere. The future will certainly lead me to Europe and other new destinations, and the experience I have gained in Angola can only help me to continue my career successfully.
Adnan, thank you for your time and answers, we wish you all the luck in your further coaching career.