Fans poured to the Merkur Arena stadium in Graz on Wednesday to pay their respects to late coach Ivica Osim who died on May 1, leaving many in his native Bosnia as well as fans in Austria in tears.
Floodlights were switched on at 7.09 pm on Wednesday evening, illuminating for 81 minutes Osim’s flower-covered coffin that laid on the playing field. The manager who won two league titles with Sturm Graz was 81 when he died.
Lines formed in front of the book of condolences and fans – some wearing T-shirts with his picture – laid flowers in front of the stadium.
One of the fans told N1 that the passing of Ivica Osim is the first death of a public figure he ever cared about.
“I’m 30. Many important persons have passed, and it’s always a tragedy but it didn't bother me much. I also thought some years ago about when Ivica is going to die. I always thought that this was going to be the first person whose death will really bother me,” he said.
Here is what fans in #Graz, #Austria had to say about late football legend #IvicaOsim: https://t.co/nqhQrEZUP3— N1english (@N1info) May 4, 2022
Another fan said that “Ivica was everything.”
“He was our trainer for years and the best trainer we ever had,” he said.
“The person is dead, but he lives on in our hearts,” he added, as his friend was showing how he gets chills every time the name of this legend is mentioned.
“Ima neka tajna veza” by Yugoslav rock band #BijeloDugme, tears, a minute of silence and applause at the commemorative event for football legend #IvicaOsim in #Graz, #Austria. https://t.co/0eLXpXkoye— N1english (@N1info) May 4, 2022
An elderly female fan bursted into tears as she spoke about Osim.
“Ivica Osim was my hero. I watched almost every match while he was the trainer of that fabulous team at that time,” she said.
“He was such a special man. I will always have him in my heart,” she added.
After several speeches, popular songs from former Yugoslavia were played at the stadium.
The floodlights went out in the 81st minute. An emotional farewell was organised by club members and fans.
“We love you, Ivica Osim,” the crowd chanted: