Captain of the national football team of Croatia Darijo Srna said the final goodbye to his father Uzeir, who has always been an authority for him, his role model, best friend and support and whose life story inspired Darijo to appreciate persistence and family.
Uzeir Srna once gathered 700 BAM from friends and colleagues at work just to enable Darijo to go to Poreč. Uzeir did not want to miss the opportunity to send his son to the place where younger players of the Croatian national team were gathering. He worked double shifts just to buy Darijo’s first ball and “Copa mundial” football boots by Adidas in the mall Razvitak in Metković.
Some fifteen years later, Darijo remembered those football boots from Razvitak, at the time when he was already a captain in the Ukrainian FC Shakhtar.
“I was happy as a small child. My father did everything to enable me to become a football player and there is no money that could pay for that,” Darijo said. Captain of the Croatian national football team buried his father Uzeir Srna on June 13.
What is almost entirely certain is that the story of Uzeir Srna will not wait long for an interested director.
Uzeir Srna was born in 1941 in the village of Gornji Stopići, near Čajniče in Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Second World War affected the area as well and the Srna family was forced to flee from their home several times because of Chetniks.
During one of their attacks, Uzeir’s father and brother Safet managed to escape, but his mother and a minor sister were left in the house. “Mother was pregnant and she and my sister were burned alive,” Uzeir said on one occasion.
In all that chaos, they managed to escape to Bosanski Šamac, where the family split. Uzeir first ended up in Sarajevo and then in the Home for war orphans in the north of Slovenia. His father and his older brother went to the other side. His father soon died of a stray bullet.
Brothers Safet and Uzeir were left alone then, on the opposite ends of the war-torn country. But Safet never gave up on his younger brother.
As many times before, they had luck. Safet joined the army and his platoon was headed by one Slovenian. Safet told him his sad story and his superior then told him he knows one family from Donja Lendava, near Murska Sobota, which took a boy, an orphan without parents, for whom they know he comes from Eastern Bosnia. “He is three, four years old,” said the Slovenian commander to Safet.
It was the family of a local police officer who adopted Uzeir and named him Mirko Kelenc. As soon as he left the army, Safet found the Kelenc family with the help of the Red Cross and after years of separation the two brothers were back together.
The brothers moved to Bosanski šamac, where Uzeir attended primary school. He graduated in baking trade. When explaining why he decided to become a baker, couple years ago Uzeir said that he was hungry all his life, watching friends coming to school with sandwiches, and he had nothing. He was envious and that is why he decided to become a baker.
Uzeir was then invited to Sarajevo by a cousin. He did not want to miss the opportunity, so he bought all he needed from his first salary and headed towards Sarajevo. He started playing football soon. In Sarajevo he became a goalkeeper and then one of the engineers from the company he worked in offered him to come to Belgrade to play for one club there.
Uzeir went from Belgrade to serve in the army in Busovača, where he also played as a goalkeeper for FC Jedinstvo. During one match with FC Čelik from Zenica, he was noticed by officials of that club who offered him to come to Zenica. Uzeir accepted.
Uzeir Srna married twice. With his first wife he had a son, Renato, who also became a football player. Then Uzeir and his wife separated and Uzeir went to France. When he returned to Metković he married for the second time and got two sons, Igor and Darijo. Darijo showed a great football talent and, in order to make his son’s dreams come true, Uzeir went to work in Germany. Darijo soon went to Hajduk.
“My father has been through a lot in his life, he was a war orphan, he grew up in foster homes and made his own way through life. He did not let bad people come near me even if that meant I will never play football again,” said Darijo once. Thanks to the sacrifice of the good Uzeir, Darijo’s dreams came true.
(Source: nap.ba/photo: nap.ba)