BELGRADE (Reuters) – Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic should take over as the Serbian FA chief and he needs the government’s support to get the Balkan nation’s soccer out of the doldrums, the Premier League club’s midfielder Nemanja Matic said on Wednesday.
Matic, who hung up his Serbia boots in August to extend his United career, criticised the country’s FA as they failed to reach the Euro 2020 finals after a penalty shootout defeat by Scotland earlier this month.
He also called on Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic to lend support to Vidic if the 39-year old, who won five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League at United, decided to take the job.
“Vidic at the helm of the Serbian Football Association (FSS) is the route to saving the country’s soccer,” Matic said in an open letter to the public circulated by Serbian media.
“I am not asking for anyone to lose their job, but I am asking for Vidic to be put in charge because I am completely convinced he will do everything in his power for the benefit of Serbia’s football.
“He needs the government’s support too because football is important to us.
“We all know that president Aleksandar Vucic is a big sports fan, hence I am inviting him to help persuade Vidic to take on the massive job of getting our football back on its feet.”
Serbia have never reached the European Championship finals as an independent nation, with local media and pundits describing the home defeat by Scotland as the final straw after a group stage exit in the 2018 World Cup.
Coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic’s days at the helm seem to be numbered and several Serbian media reports have speculated that Reading boss Veljko Paunovic was among the FA’s preferred choices to take over.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge)