Velimir Sombolac, Serb Yugoslav football player and manager, Died at 77

Velimir Sombolac was born on February 27, 1939, and died on May 22, 2016.

He was a Serb footballer and manager.

After the steps of his elder brother Petar, Velimir Sombolac began playing in his hometown club FK BSK Banja Luka where he, with his team, surprisingly achieved the third place in the Yugoslav national youth championship.

He was successful, BSK coach Aco Mastala received a proposal to move to the city’s main club FK Borac Banja Luka, which he accepted and brought along some of the players that helped him previously, between them, obviously, Velimir Sombolac.

During his time in Borac, Velimir’s good display didn’t go unnoticed, and, beside starting to represent the Yugoslav under-21 team, two seasons after he came there, received an invitation to move to one of the greatest Yugoslav clubs, the Belgrade’s FK Partizan.

At that same time, he was playing alongside stars like Šoškić, Galić, Jusufi, and others, he will play six seasons with a total of 260 matches, being national champion in four occasions.

During 1965, Velimir Sombolac relocated to NK Olimpija Ljubljana where he will play until 1970.

Along with Smajlović Arslanagić and, then again, Šoškić, they would make Olimpija one of the most attractive Yugoslav First League teams.

Rather than to move abroad, during 1970, as many other Yugoslav players in that period and with his age did, he will move to Second League NK Orijent Rijeka where he would play one season, before returning to FK Borac Banja Luka where he will hang up his boots in 1973.

When he had played ten matches for the Yugoslav U-21 team, and also five for the national “B” team, he was in the Olympic team that represented Yugoslavia at the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome, and where Yugoslavia won the gold eliminating hosts Italy in the semi-finals, and beating Denmark ( 3–1 ) in the final.

He also played five matches for the Yugoslavia national football team.

In 1973, as he took his retirement, he took over of a small regional club called FK Sloga Gornji Pogradci, that provided him with crucial experience for returning, in 1974, to Borac, to become the assistant manager until 1976.

During these years, Velimir Sombolac played one Yugoslav Cup final, will play in the European Cup Winners Cup and gained promotion to the Yugoslav First League.

After he took charge as the main manager of FK Kozara Gradiška.

Following three seasons there, he stayed in the club, but he found his true vocation, which was working with youth.

Then, the break-up of Yugoslavia, Velimir Sombolac worked at the Football Association of Republika Srpska, helping to form all the youth category teams.

Velimir Sombolac was the head coach of the Republika Srpska official football team, from 1998 to 2001.

Velimir Sombolac passed away at 77 yrs old.