In the years leading up to the outbreak of civil war in former Yugoslavia, soccer stadiums in the constituent republics were frequently the scene of conflicts. The burning of a Yugoslavian flag at a match between Hajduk Split and Partizan Belgrade in 1990 symbolized the end of Marshall Tito’s dream. Three years later, the same sports fans were fighting each other in battles for national independence.
Nowadays, soldiers from the six independent countries regularly compete in a very different context: at an indoor soccer tournament in Sarajevo. In Gorana Jovanović’s short film about this event, the director reveals herself to be a skilled observer, able to let the images speak for themselves. The soccer players are now enjoying themselves at a place that was once used to shoot at the besieged city. The still impressive state-run facilities are a tad too big for current needs. And the fans require police protection. Jovanović accompanies these images with an old radio hit that addresses the connection between the sport and macho culture: “I doubt that soccer is the only reason you go to the stadium every Sunday.”