Friday, 27 January 2023

SuperSport HNL Transfer News: Latest with Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek

January 27, 2023 - A look at the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news from the top three teams in the league this season - Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek. 

The winter transfer period continues in the Croatian league, and while we have seen many stars leave Croatia already, we haven't seen many new players coming in... yet. We bring you the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news. 

Dinamo

Dinamo has been in the spotlight lately, and not for its success. Fierce conflicts within the club have affected the atmosphere at Maksimir. 

Thus, Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi asked to leave the club a few days ago and came to Maksimir with two offers. However, it seems that Dinamo leaders and coach Ante Čačić did not agree with his demands. 

Gol.hr reports that it is speculated that he will be offered a new Dinamo contract, but it is not excluded that there will be a transfer if the compensation is satisfactory.

Dinamo already sold a hugely important player in this winter transfer window when Mislav Oršić went to Southampton. With Bruno Petković injured and out of action for some time, Ademi's departure would be a big blow for Dinamo, especially after a surprising draw against Gorica to start the spring season.

Croatian media revealed on Friday that Dinamo is interested in bringing Swiss center back Bećir Omeragić, who would like to join the Zagreb club this winter transfer window.

Hajduk

Hajduk and French club Nimes Olympique agreed on the transfer of 24-year-old offensive midfielder Yassine Benrahouwho signed a contract with the Split club until the summer of 2026, with the option of extending it for another year. 

The new Hajduk player took his first football steps at the football academy AS Bondy and continued to develop through the academies of Bordeaux and the elite football academy "Clairefontaine."

He made his first senior appearances for Bordeaux's second team, and in the 2019/2020 season, he joined the first team and played ten official matches. He then moved to Nimes, playing in the first and second divisions. He played 91 games for Bordeaux and Nimes and scored 14 goals with 14 assists. For Bordeaux's second team, he played another 23 games and scored five goals with three assists. In addition, he played for France's U-16 and U-17 national teams. 

"Yassine is a player who, at the age of 24, has experience playing in the two highest leagues of French football. At the same time, he is a player who, during the negotiations, showed a strong desire to come to Hajduk. He has a versatile offensive player profile as an offensive midfielder who can also play well as a central midfielder and on the right wing. He uses his left foot dominantly and has excellent technical characteristics. In the attack, he perceives space very well, with a good overview, anticipation, and idea of the game," said sports director Nikoličius. 

Osijek

Croatia national team goalkeeper Ivica Ivušić will no longer defend for NK Osijek but will continue his career in Cyprus at the first league club Phafos. Ivušić received permission from the club to go for medical examinations, missed the team training, and flew to Cyprus earlier this week, where he signed. 

Osijek will reportedly earn around two million euros in addition to bonuses and a percentage of future sales.

If the bonuses are realized, Ivušić can become one of the club's most significant transfers. On the other hand, Ivušić became the most expensive player in the history of Pharos. 

Osijek already sold Dion Drena Beljo to Augsburg and Laszlo Kleinheisler to Panathinaikos during this transfer window. Ivušić is the third key player who has left Osijek so far. Marko Malenica, Osijek's second goalkeeper, will now be the starting goalkeeper. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

SuperSport HNL 18th Round: Hajduk Inches Closer to Dinamo as League Returns after Winter Break

January 22, 2023 - The SuperSport HNL finally returned after a long winter break, with Croatian clubs back in action from Friday, January 20 to Sunday, January 22. The 18th round brought some unexpected results, making the race for the title interesting as we kicked off the second part of the season. 

Istra 1961 v. Slaven Belupo (0:0)

Istra 1961 and Slaven Belupo opened the 18th round on Friday, January 20, 2023, in Pula, in front of 557 fans. 

The match went without goals, while Istra held more possession (61%) with 15 total shots to Beluop's 5. Istra also had six shots on target to Belupo's 0. 

 

Istra is currently in 6th place with 21 points and a game in hand, while Belupo is in 4th with 27. 

Osijek v. Rijeka (1:1)

Osijek and Rijeka met on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at a snowy City Garden Stadium in front of 2,082 fans. 

The second draw of the 18th round at least featured some goals. Spoljaric scored for the Osijek lead in the 9th minute. Frigan equalized from the penalty spot in the 38th minute for 1:1. Osijek's goal in the 89th minute was called offside thanks to VAR, and the match ended 1:1. Osijek held 49% of possession to Rijeka'ss 51%, with four shots on target compared to Rijeka's 3. 

 

Osijek is currently in 3rd place with 31 points, while Rijeka is in 8th with 16. 

Dinamo v. Gorica (0:0)

Dinamo and Gorica met in the second game on Saturday, January 21, 2023, in front of 3,568 fans who also had to brave the snow.

Not only was this the third draw of the 18th round, but yet another one without goals. Dinamo's goal in the 2nd minute was disallowed due to a foul after consulting VAR. Neither team was able to score for the rest of the match. Dinamo maintained 80% of possession throughout the game compared to Gorica's 20%. Both teams had three shots on target. 

 

Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 42 points and a game in hand, while Gorica is in last place with 9 points. 

Hajduk v. Sibenik (2:1)

Hajduk and Sibenik met at Poljud on Sunday, January 22, 2023, in front of 9,358 fans. 

Sibenik took the lead in the 13th minute when Arai scored for 0:1. Kalik equalized for Hajduk just before halftime for 1:1. Livaja saved the day in the 85th minute with a goal for 2:1, the final result. Hajduk had 70% possession throughout the match compared to Sibenik's 30%. Hajduk also had seven shots on target compared to Sibenik's one. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 38 points, while Sibenik is 9th with 13 points. 

Varazdin v. Lokomotiva (0:0)

Varazdin and Lokomotiva closed out the 18th round on Sunday, January 22, 2023, in front of 785 fans. 

The final draw of the 18th round also saw no goals. However, it was a close match, with Varazdin maintaining 48% of possession compared to Lokomotiva's 52%.  Varazdin had four shots on target compared to 5 for Lokomotiva. 

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Varazdin is currently in 5th place with 24 points, while Lokomotiva is in 7th with 19. 

You can check out the HNL table HERE

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

WineOS Osijek Wine Festival Goes from Strength to Strength

January 20, 2023 - And you thought Croatia was dead in January? Head on East to WineOS and the Osijek Wine Festival, which was a great success in its 8th edition.

Croatia in January.

Advent in over, the summer is far away, everything is closed. 

Now imagine Slavonia in January. Even worse, right?

You couldn't be further from the truth. One of the early season fixed highlights in my calendar each year now is a weekend in Osijek in mid-January. I first went to the WineOS Osijek Wine Festival seven years ago, a very local affair with just a few producers. 

The organisers have worked very hard to expand the event, while maintaining the quality. In addition to the many wines to try, there are outstanding workshops of both days, as well as an excellent after party both nights - this year hosted at Peppermint. More details in the press release below, as I will confess that my judgment got a little cloudier as the days went on. 

Two highlights for me were learning about the wines of Vina Papak in Ilok, officially the easternmost winery in Croatia - for years I thought that Ilocki Podrum was the only name in town there.

And the black Slavonian pig kulen from former Croatian national footballer, Domagoj Vida (I met it last year) was absolutely sensational. 

Much more below, and I heartily recommend you look out for the dates in 2024 - an excellent event powered by fine wines and true Slavonian hospitality. 

You can follow the official WineOS website here.

 

THE RECORD EIGHTH WINEOS ATTRACTED NUMEROUS EXHIBITORS AND VISITORS

The previous weekend, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January, the eighth international fair of wine, delicacies and pleasant living WineOS was held in the Gradski vrt hall. According to announcements, it was the largest WineOS ever, where over 115 producers of wine, spirits, desserts, cured meats and other delicacies presented themselves.

During the two days of the fair and three days of workshops, almost 3,500 people passed through the hall: exhibitors, visitors, business guests and everyone who worked hard to make this event look spectacular. On both exhibition days, there was a big crowd in the hall in front of each exhibitor and the stage where Saša Vojnović from the Lug Hotel restaurant, Nebojša Rajković from the Čingi Lingi čarda restaurant and the famous gastronomic educator from Split Željko Neven Bremec demonstrated their culinary skills.

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"Record numbers, great interest in participation, reactions of the exhibitors and the audience are confirmation that we succeeded in surpassing previous editions. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the organization and realization of the biggest January public event in Osijek; Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek and the Vinita wine shop as co-organizers, the tourist associations of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek, the Osijek Fair as a sponsor, and our partners from the Catering and Tourism School. Without their help and engagement, this event could not have been realized", said the president of the organizing committee of the fair and the president of the association Dekanter Boris Ocić.

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"Eight years after the first edition of the fair, WineOS truly became what we wanted - one of the biggest wine events in Croatia and the region. Osijek is increasingly recognized as a wine tourist destination, a city of hedonism and good food, and a place where guests from other parts of Croatia like to come and stay more and more. We will continue in the same direction, we will offer something new every year and we will not rest on our laurels. We want to progress even more", said WineOS founder and CEO Vinko Ručević.

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"The reactions of the exhibitors and the audience, the praise that comes from all sides, the words of praise sent to us by the media, guests, and guests are really pleasing. However, the most important thing is that we have permanent partners who are of great help to us, but also the fact that our exhibitors get better and better jobs precisely thanks to the contacts made on WineOS. We want to continue in this direction and offer everyone an even better and more attractive WineOS next year and provide an opportunity for exhibitors and business visitors to do even more work. And we will do all this with another big step forward that we are planning for 2024. However, we will say more about that in a few months", concluded the executive director of the fair, Denis Despot.

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Finally, here are some concrete figures. The 1,900 square meters of the Gradski vrt hall housed 97 exhibition spaces where over 115 exhibitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented themselves. More than 2,800 guests, invitees, business visitors, protocol representatives and journalists passed through the hall, totaling almost 3,500 people with the organizers and exhibitors. Visitors tried more than 500 different wines and spirits in almost 3,000 glasses, about 2,500 liters of water were drunk, a ton of ice was consumed, and workshop participants had the opportunity to taste about eighty different wines, many of which you can no longer buy even in wineries.

All this is a lure for guests to visit WineOS next year as well, and while they wait they will be able to enjoy the many wine events in Osijek and the surrounding area that await us in 2023. At the end, the organizers send another big thank you to everyone with a message - see you in 2024 at the ninth WineOS!
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Thursday, 12 January 2023

All Wine Roads Lead to Slavonia: WineOS, 8th Osijek Wine Festival

January 12, 2023 - The 8th edition of WineOS, the Osijek Wine Festival kicks off later today, an event being attended by TCN.

Osijek in January. Slavonian hospitality at its finest. Why aren't you here?

All roads lead to Slavonia this weekend, as the 8th edition of WineOS Osijek Wine Festival takes place - a wonderful mix of fine Slavonian (and other wines), Slavonian hospitality, and the heart of a Slavonian winter. 

As with last year, it promises to be a fine event of quality wine and good company, which I will be visiting in the company of the one and only legendary Ribafish. I only hope he behaves a little better this year... 

More information about the event from Vinoteka Vinita, translated below.

At the beginning of the new year, 2023, a new, eighth edition of the famous Osijek fair of wine, delicacies and hedonism is being organized. On January 13 and 14 (Friday and Saturday), the eighth wine and delicacy fair - WineOS will be held in the Gradski vrt hall, at Kneza Trpimira 23, Osijek.

Both days offer moments of pleasant living, top wines and delicacies from the east of Croatia, and the opportunity to meet numerous guests from other Croatian regions and abroad in almost 1,900 square meters of exhibition space.

Also, guests will have the opportunity to visit around 90 exhibition stands where more than a hundred producers will be presented, and those interested will be able to attend educational workshops that will repeatedly offer unusual stories and rarely available wines.

Tickets for the fair can be purchased at the price of 20 euros per day at the Vinita Wine Cellar and on the day of the fair at the entrance to the hall. Tickets for the workshops will be purchased exclusively in advance.

The workshop schedule follows below:

Thursday, January 12, 2023 - Hotel Osijek, Hall Kesten, 3:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m. – Belje – time machine to the wine past - entrance fee HRK 200

4:30 p.m. - Klaudio Jurčić - My friendships with winemakers - entrance fee HRK 150

18:00 - Kopar, the vertical of the best Hungarian black Attila Gere - entrance HRK 200

Friday, January 13, 2023 - City Garden Sports Hall, VIP lounge, 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – All Kozlović's Malvasias - entrance fee HRK 150

2:30 p.m. – Uroboros, a wine that pushes the boundaries of what is possible - entrance fee HRK 150

16:00 - Omnibus Lector - chardonnay for the best wine psychotherapy - entrance fee HRK 150

5:30 p.m. – Umčani - Small village of wine masterpieces - entrance fee HRK 150

Saturday, January 14, 2023 - City Garden Sports Hall, VIP lounge, 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – Grgić Pošip, a wine that changed the attitude towards that variety - entrance fee HRK 150

2:30 p.m. – Sea Ego by Joze Galić - entrance fee HRK 150

4:00 p.m. – Maurer and Kadarka - from gravity and rock'n'roll to vineyards from 1880 - entrance fee HRK 150

5:30 p.m. – Why is Nuić's Trnjak the best red wine in Herzegovina? - entrance fee HRK 150

The daily ticket for all workshops is HRK 500 per day, and 20 tickets are available for each workshop. See you and cheers!

Friday, 6 January 2023

Life Being Breathed into Osijek Railway Station as Works Progress

January the 6th, 2023 - Brand new life is finally being breathed into Osijek railway station, with the ongoing works now in their final phase and due to be completed by spring 2023.

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the ongoing renovation of the Osijek railway station building is now coming to an end. The renovation contract was signed back in March 2021 by Minister of Transport Oleg Butkovic and Ivan Krsic in front of the HZ (Croatian Railways) Board, and the value of the project was estimated to stand at 25 million kuna.

The expected deadline for the completion of the works on Osijek railway station was the spring of 2023, and apparently the people of Osijek and everyone who comes to the city on the Drava by train will be greeted by the newly renovated building on time. Otherwise, the Osijek railway station building is an attractive representative example of beautiful nineteenth century architecture because it was built way back in 1870.

The ongoing works on the building were divided into three different stages back at the beginning. In the first phase, work was carried out on the western, unused part of the building, and in the second, on the eastern wing, where there are rooms being used by Croatian Railways' services. ​

During this, the last phase of all, the central part of the Osijek railway station building with the waiting room and the ticket office is being renovated.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Osijek Airport: Direct Connections to Six Destinations for Advent

December 20, 2022 - If you've always wanted to visit the east of Croatia but hesitated because it's been a bit far, your time might have just come. The Osijek airport is now directly connected to six destinations: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Pula, and the Croatian Gastarbeiter mecca, Munich.

As Jolie.hr writes, Advent is the right time to visit continental Croatia. And Osijek Airport provides direct flights to this Eastern Croatian metropolis from the Croatian cities. You can also visit Osijek by direct flight from the Bavarian capital of Munich. Osijek Advent was declared the best in Croatia in 2021, and this year it shines with the glow of thousands of lights. Take a walk along the path of holiday magic from the art nouveau European Avenue to the fairytale Fortress, where you will find an abundance of smells and tastes of Christmas.

A rich cultural and entertainment program at the Fortress

This year's Advent is a real opportunity for family quality time, where everyone can find something for themselves. The youngest will be able to enjoy fairy tales in the Great Winter Story Room, watch cartoons in the Christmas Cinema, and write letters to Santa Claus! Concerts, lectures, exhibitions in the Archaeological Museum, and gastronomic mornings have been prepared for the big ones. Celebrated chef Rene Bakalović will create New Slavonian cuisine for visitors, preparing the most delicious Slavonian dishes in a modern way.

The ice fairy tale of the ice rink at Sokol offers unforgettable moments to young and old lovers of winter joys, and after showing off your skating skills, you will have the opportunity to warm up with mulled wine or dance to Christmas hits. And if you are not of an adventurous spirit and enjoy walking around the city more, explore the hidden parts of the city whose every corner breathes holiday magic and a Christmas atmosphere.

The most beautiful view from 35 metres

An essential part of Advent this year is the "panoramic wheel" that will take you high above the city’s rooftops. The largest Ferris wheel in Croatia is located at the Baroque Fortress, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. The daytime ride places the fairy-tale city below your feet, and the night ride provides a view of thousands of lights. This year's Advent programme lasts until the 30th of December, and if you decide to spend the craziest night of the year on the streets of Osijek, the band Crvena Jabuka will count you down into the New Year on the central town square.

Visit the beautiful Baranja and the Danube region

Along with the Osijek Advent tour, you can visit the Vukovar Christmas market or the restored Eltz manor museum. After the New Year's celebration, you can enjoy the rich gastronomic offer of Baranja. Go on a tour of the wine cellars and enjoy traditional Baranja delicacies. The Slavonian metropolis has never been closer - visit Osijek and see why it won the title of the most successful continental city tourism destination! More information on the Osijek Airport website.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

 

Monday, 19 December 2022

3 Croatian Cities Ready to Dip Feet in Pool of Almost 700 Million Euros

December the 19th, 2022 - Three Croatian cities are the most ready of all to dip their feet in the proverbial pool of almost 700 million euros provided by the European Union (EU) through the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, through the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds, the EU has provided a massive 681.3 million euros to be spent on increasing the quality of life and the green transition of Croatian urban areas, and most Croatian cities have plans for projects that they will apply under this particular programme.

22 Croatian cities are entitled to access funds from the Integrated Territorial Programme (ITU mechanism), and Bjelovar is one of only three Croatian cities that already have prepared all of the necessary documentation ahead of time.

If we're to include municipal projects, there are fourteen priority projects in Bjelovar alone, with Mayor Dario Hrebak highlighting the restoration of the old prison building in the centre, a protected cultural property whose restoration is demanding and cannot be submitted to other tenders, as well as the revitalisation and furnishing the building for the needs of the student dorms.

"Bjelovar and the neighbouring municipalities of Veliko Trojstvo, Stefanje, Rovisce and Kapela have all acquired the right to a financial envelope of 22 million euros from the ITU mechanism, with Bjelovar receiving 70 percent and the municipalities 30 percent of that amount," says Hrebak. In addition to the revitalisation of the old prison, they also list some other projects in Bjelovar; a digital innovation centre, the Jabuceta business incubator in the municipality of Kapela, the Rovisce development centre, the proper arrangement and equipping of the social centre in Narta, pedestrian and bicycle paths with storm drainage in Gornji Plavnice, the revitalisation and equipping of the student dorms,Terme Bjelovar, and much more.

"Bjelovar currently has prepared documentation for investments worth 1.2 billion kuna in total. I expect that through the ITU mechanism, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and all other sources of funding available to us, we'll manage to realise 80 percent of these projects over the next four years. Equally, we expect that the participation of Bjelovar in this will stand at 250 million kuna", explained Hrebak. In order to realise the projects from the ITU mechanism, Bjelovar established the Administrative Department for the implementation of the ITU mechanism.

Rijeka also has a horse in the EU funds race. Back during the period from 2016 to 2021, during which the implementation of several projects important for the development of the City of Rijeka and the city's agglomeration was contracted, and this included public transport.

"The preparation of projects for the period until the year 2027 is currently underway, and they'll be presented only after the decision of the Coordination Council as the governing body of the Agglomeration, and we believe that in January 2023 we will be able to state which projects we're talking about. There is no doubt, however, that the newly proposed projects must be shaped within the established priorities, that is, the specific goals on which the Integrated Territorial Programme for the period 2021-2027 is based, and they are; the industrial transition of Croatian regions, strengthening green, clean, smart and sustainable of city traffic and the development of urban areas through the rehabilitation and revitalisation of brownfield areas, the restoration and presentation of cultural heritage for the development of sustainable tourism, and the development of green infrastructure, etc, they explained from the City of Rijeka, headed by Mayor Marko Filipovic.

Of the other ''most ready'' Croatian cities, Osijek also started preparing for the ITU financial period 2021-2027 last year with the establishment of the Osijek Urban Agglomeration. The territorial scope of the Osijek Urban Agglomeration consists of ten local self-government units: the City of Osijek and the municipalities of Antunovac, Bilje, Bizovac, Cepin, Erdut, Ernestinovo, Petrijevci, Vladislavci and Vuka.

As they revealed from Administrative Department for Finances and EU Funds of the City of Osijek, during 2021 and 2022, the establishment of the Urban Agglomeration of Osijek took place alongside the establishment of the Coordination Council. The drafting of the Osijek Urban Agglomeration Development Strategy, a strategic document that defines development goals and is a precondition for the use of funds from the ITU mechanism, has now been started. For this purpose, on November the 22nd, 2021, all local self-government units from the scope concluded an agreement on cooperation on the development and implementation of the Osijek Urban Agglomeration Development Strategy 2021-2027.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Emigration from Slavonia? The View from Osijek University (VIDEO Interview)

December 10, 2022 - The perception of eastern Croatia is a region of emigration and economic decay. TCN visits the University of Osijek to catch the mood with students. 

One of the things I like to do when I have time is to talk to the young people of Croatia to see how they see their country and their future, particularly in eastern Croatia, which is a magical land which is so misrepresented in Zagreb and treated almost like a handicapped cousin, one whose existence is acknowledged but kept firmly out of the public eye. 

From the moment I first visited Slavonia back in 2014, I sensed that there was something wrong with this narrative. Yes, the emigration was significant, but so too was the desire to stay and build a better future, as well as infinite pride and hospitality. Slavonians really are a breed apart, in a good way.  Lack of investment, lack of interest, and a public perception of war and hopelessness has come to characterise how people in the rest of Croatia see the region. 

And yet, having travelled extensively in the region, my experience has been exactly the opposite. My tour of eastern Croatia in November, 2021, remains the best trip I have done in my 20 years in Croatia - read about it in Time to Tell the Truth about Slavonia Full of Life.

When I came back to Zagreb with wild tales of the east, what became immediately clear was the level of ignorance about eastern Croatia. As I explain in the video tour video above, I asked thee simple questions to 70 people in Zagreb about eastern Croatia - just one got all three correct, with 69 out of 70 unable to do so. Do you think you can answer the three relatively simple questions? Check them out in the video above after the video tour of the region. 

But not only had I found a magical and relatively undiscovered tourism region, but the people I was meeting were all saying the same thing. The pace of emigration was halting, even reversing, and the number of opportunities I was coming across were growing by the day. 

A year ago, I was surprised to meet a British businessman in my hotel, the excellent Maskimilien, in Tvrdja in Osijek. He explained that he had a Swiss drone company and was working with Orqa, the Osijek-based FPV drone company, which is leading the world in this emerging technology. A year later, I met him again. Orqa had since acquired his company, and he had bought a house and moved to Osijek to work within Orqa to put develop Orqa and its drone technology. It may be hard to believe for some, but Osijek is now home to the leading drone technology company in the world, and there are some VERY interesting visitors to Slavonia these days, given the events in Ukraine. 

And Orqa is not alone - the IT sector in particular, is very vibrant. But I was more interested on this trip to get the views of the younger generation, and I am very grateful to Marija Lozancic for organising a seminar for me at the University of Osijek Faculty of Education on the subject How Travelling the World and Experiencing Cultures Helps Build a Media Career in Croatia.

The last time I spoke at a university, in Zagreb, just 9 students turned up. In Osijek, there were almost 50. Curious about their future plans, I asked how many planned to emigate on graduation - just 2. And how many were definitely staying? An impressive 25. Yes, the emigration had been terrible, but times are a changing. I asked for some volunteers to do a video interview after the seminar, and I am very grateful to the three young ladies in the video below, who were happy to share their views on life in Slavonia and their plans for the future, which include developing their new English-language blog, www.englishing.eu 

And wherever I went on my 3-day trip to the east this week, I was met with the traditional warmth and hospitality, but also a lot more positivity and feeling that things are changing regarding emigration. Turnout for our book promotion of Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners was bigger in both Osijek and Vukovar than it was in Zagreb, Split or Zadar.  

(Presentation of Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners at Knjizara Nova in Osijek on December 6, 2022)

Eastern Croatia is a fantastic place which has been kept down for too long. If you have never been, I encourage you to visit. And if you think that it is a place purely of emigration and economic decline, you are in for a major surprise. 

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(Presentation of Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners at Vukovar City Library on December 7, 2022)

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Friday, 2 December 2022

Part of 5C Highway Connecting Osijek to Beli Manastir Opened

December 2, 2022 - Yesterday, the section of Corridor 5C highway, connecting Osijek and Beli Manastir, 25 kilometers long, was opened. 

The town of Osijek celebrated their day yesterday, and as a part of that celebration, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković opened yet another section of the popular Slavonika highway, Večernji list reports. Corridor 5C is an international traffic route whose goal is to connect Budapest and Ploče, and its Croatian section will be 88.6 kilometres long, and all but the final five kilometres have now been completed. The last five kilometres between Beli Manastir and Ivandarda will be completed in 2024.

This was a joint venture, thanks to HBOR and EBRD, whose funds and extremely favorable interest rates made this project a reality, Plenković added. This means that the balanced regional development of Croatia, transport connectivity and the construction of transport infrastructure are strategic priorities of our Government. The investment in this section of the highway was HRK 206.4 million. 

The construction of Slavonika, which is what the Croatian section of the corridor 5C highway is often called, started in 2005, and two years later the first section from the Sredanci rest stop to Đakovo, 23 kilometers long, was put into traffic. The mayor of Osijek, Ivan Radić, stated that the opening of the Baranja section is the best gift to Osijek. He pointed out that Osijek is now two hours away from Zagreb, and now they will be two hours away from the capitals of the neighboring countries, Budapest and Sarajevo.

The Osijek Baranja Prefect Ivan Anušić pointed out that the bridge over the Drava River, as part of Corridor 5C, is the longest bridge in Croatia, and bears the name of the 3rd Guards Brigade, which made the greatest sacrifice in the Homeland War. The mayor of Beli Manastir, Tomislav Rob, said that this is a historic day for Beli Manastir and the whole of Baranja, the biggest one since the peaceful reintegration.

 

Monday, 14 November 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 17: Dinamo Ends Autumn Season in 1st, Rijeka Coach Sacked, Drama in Koprivnica

November 14, 2022 - The SuperSport HNL 17th round was played on November 12 and 13, 2022. The final round of the autumn season was not without drama. Coronavirus, shocking refereeing, and coach sackings are just part of it. Here's our SuperSport HNL round 17 recap.

Lokomotiva v. Istra 1961 (2:0)

Lokomotiva and Istra opened the 17th round on Saturday, November 12, in Zagreb in front of 681 fans. 

Kulenovic scored Lokomotiva's first goal in the 11th minute from the penalty spot. The questionable call was made when Mersinaj and Perković collided heads in a duel on the edge of the penalty area. Mersinaj remained injured on the pitch, and even though it was clear that it was an accidental collision, VAR judge Bebek assessed that it should be a penalty for Lokomotiva. Kulušić looked at the situation himself and awarded a penalty. Lokomotiva confirmed the victory in the 73rd minute when Stojkovic scored for 2:0. 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 18 points, while Istra is in 6th place with 20 points and a game in hand. 

Slaven Belupo v. Hajduk (2:2)

Belupo and Hajduk met on Saturday, November 12, in Koprivnica in front of 3198 fans. 

Hajduk led 2:0 at halftime with goals from Filip Krovinović (12') and Rokas Pukštas (28'), but Belupo equalized at the beginning of the second half through Arber Hoxha (49') and Ivan Krstanović (58-penalty). The pivotal moment happened in the 36th minute when the match came to a halt for 20 minutes because an object hit the linesman in the head. Hajduk captain Marko Livaja and Slaven defender Nikola Soldo had an altercation on the pitch. Livaja received a yellow card, and Hajduk fans reacted. Another controversial call from the ref came in the 56th minute when Čulina pointed to the penalty spot for Belupo. Hajduk defender Simić headed the ball into the corner and landed on the heel of the Belupo player. Although it is clear that the ball was already out of play during that involuntary contact, the decision was not changed, and Krstanović scored to equalize. Hajduk ended the match with ten players after Sahiti was sent off in the 80th minute, receiving his second yellow card for an alleged handball.

 

Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić commented about the match on Monday:

"Referee experts and the Commission are inconsistent, which confuses the public, us in football, and the refs themselves. Some situations went to our advantage and our detriment. However, Hajduk will never be satisfied with anything that is not fair. We want a fair trial for all clubs at all levels."

Belupo is currently in 4th place with 26 points, while Hajduk is in 2nd with 35. 

Sibenik v. Osijek (0:2)

Sibenik and Osijek met on Sunday, November 13, in front of only 250 fans. 

Beljo scored two goals in two minutes to make it 0:2 for Osijek going into halftime. Beljo scored again in the 72nd minute, which was called offside after consulting VAR. 

 

Sibenik is currently in 9th place with 13 points, while Osijek is in 3rd with 30. 

Rijeka v. Dinamo (2:7)

Rijeka and Dinamo closed the 17th round on Sunday, November 13, at Rujevica.

Rijeka lost 2:7 on Sunday, their biggest defeat at home since Croatian independence. This was also the last match in SuperSport HNL in 2022. Dinamo separated themselves from Hajduk by six points with a game in hand. Mislav Oršić and Mahir Emreli scored two goals each, Dario Špikić and Josip Šutalo added one each, while Ivan Smolčić scored an own goal. Gabriel Lunetta and Mario Vrančić mitigated the defeat for Rijeka. 

 

Serse Cosmi was sacked as the Rijeka coach after the match. Rijeka is currently in 8th place with 15 points. 

Gorica v. Varazdin (Postponed)

The 17th-round match between Gorica and Varaždin, which was supposed to be played on Sunday, was postponed due to COVID-19 in the Gorica team. The new date will be determined at a later date. 

The SuperSport HNL will return on January 21, 2023, when the 18th round will be played.

You can see the HNL table HERE.

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