Former striker Bajevic takes over as Bosnia coach

FILE PHOTO: Football - Newcastle United v Atromitos UEFA Europa League Qualifying Play-Off Second Leg - Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle, England - 12/13 - 30/8/12 Atromitos Coach Dusan Bajevic. Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith/File Photo

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia have named former Yugoslavia striker Dusan Bajevic as their new head coach in a bid to reach the Euro 2020 finals, the Balkan nation’s Football Association (NFSBIH) said on Saturday.

“The NFSBIH executive board unanimously named Dusan Bajevic as the national soccer team’s head coach, with the body fully confident that he is the best solution at hand,” it said.

“We wish Bajevic all the best and we are hopeful of achieving the primary goal of qualifying for next year’s European Championship finals.”

Bosnia host Northern Ireland in the Euro 2020 playoffs on March 26 and should they win, they will face either Slovakia or Ireland at home on March 31 for a berth in the 24-nation tournament to be held in 12 cities across Europe.

The 71-year-old Bajevic took over from Croatian Robert Prosinecki, who was sacked after Bosnia failed to win an automatic 2020 berth through their qualifying group.

Bajevic scored 29 goals in 37 internationals in the 1970s, including a hat-trick in Yugoslavia’s 9-0 win over Zaire in the 1974 World Cup.

Bajevic has spent most of his managerial career in Greece, having been in charge of Olympiakos Piraeus, AEK Athens as well as Salonika rivals PAOK and Aris.

He won four league titles apiece with Olympiakos and AEK, as well as two league titles as a player with the latter.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis