22 Feb. 2021
The Croatian Handball Federation (HRS) has announced the passing of former player and coach Zlatko Saračević at the age of 59.
Saračević, one of the all-time great backs in handball, who could use both his right and his left hand, was a gold medallist at the IHF Men’s World Championship with Yugoslavia in 1986 and won the gold medal at the Olympic Games 1996 with Croatia. Saračević was also an integrant part of Croatia’s silver-medal challenge at the IHF Men’s World Championship 1995 and the EHF EURO bronze medal in 1994.
Representing Yugoslavia between 1981 and 1991, Zlatko Saračević scored 200 times in 145 games and added 244 goals in 75 games for the Croatian national side between 1992 and 2000.
A two-time EHF Champions League Men top scorer in the seasons 1998/99 and 1999/2000, Saračević was also named the best Croatian handball player by the HRS, in 1999 and 2002.
In addition to his superb playing career, which included clubs like Bordeaux, US Creteil Handball, Istres and Telekom Veszprém, Saračević was also an accomplished coach, taking on roles in several countries, before coming back to Croatia. In the last years, Saračević served as a coach for Croatian powerhouse RK Zagreb, an assistant for the Croatian men’s national team and, most recently, for Croatian women’s champions, RK Podravka Vegeta.
Prior to his passing in the evening of 21 January, Saračević led his team, Podravka Vegeta, to a 32:29 win against Lokomotiva Zagreb, in a crucial game in the Croatian domestic league.
On behalf of the entire global handball family, IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa would like to extend his deepest condolences to Zlatko Saračević’s family and loved ones, HRS and everyone who worked alongside him.
PHOTO: Jozo Cabraja/kolektiffimages