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Josip Kuže
Personal information
Date of birth 13 November 1952 (1952-11-13) (age 57)
Place of birth Vranje, SFR Yugoslavia
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club Albania (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1981 Dinamo Zagreb 384 (14)
Teams managed
1982–1984 Sydney Croatia
1985–1986 BSK Slavonski Brod
1986–1988 Dinamo Zagreb (youth)
1988–1989 Borac Banja Luka
1989–1990 Dinamo Zagreb
1991–1992 Rot-Weiß Erfurt
1992–1994 Mainz 05
1996–1997 Gamba Osaka
1998–1999 NK Zagreb
2000 Chemnitz
2003–2004 Inter Zaprešić
2005–2006 Dinamo Zagreb
2007 Rijeka
2007 Varteks
2007–2008 Rwanda
2008 JEF United
2009– Albania
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Josip Kuže (born 13 November 1952 in Vranje, Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia) is a Croatian football coach and former player. He was a player and later coach of Dinamo Zagreb where he played from 1971-1981 making a total of 384 appearances and scoring 14 goals. Currently Kuže is the coach of Albania.


Playing career

He was a professional football player with Dinamo Zagreb, gathering 11 Yugoslavian U-21 caps. He played a minor role among the great players who still have their huge amount of respect today, mostly because in 1967 he was part of a team that won the UEFA cup and in 1982 a Yugoslavian championship. During his playing years with Dinamo as a defender from 1971 to 1981 he played in 384 games scoring 14 goals. Kuže scored only 1 goal in 1975/1976 season. During his career he played alongside Balkan footballing greats such as Zlatko Kranjčar, Snješko Cerin, Srećko Bogdan, Velimir Zajec, Ivica Senzen, Marko Mlinarić, Ismet Hadžić, Boro Cvetković and Stjepan Deverić.

Managerial career

After his playing career finished he started as coach of Sydney Croatia (1982-84) then he coached clubs such as BSK Slavonski Brod (1985-86), Dinamo Zagreb youth (1986-88), Borac Banja Luka (1988-89) before he became Dinamo Zagreb's coach in (1989-91). In 1991, he started coaching in Germany with FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt (1991-92) and later accepted the job from league-competition FSV Mainz 05, and stayed there until 1994. From 1995-98, he coached Japanese side Gamba Osaka. Kuže came back to Croatia to coach NK Zagreb (1998-99) and had a short stint with FC Chemnitz in 2000 and proceeded to coach Gamba Osaka again from 2000-2002. He then went to manage Inter Zaprešić from 2003-04 and in 2005 he took over coaching of Dinamo Zagreb again, winning the league title in his first year as coach.

Dinamo Zagreb coach

He took over the team after they suffered a poor year, finishing down in seventh place. With some new players, he enjoyed early success in the next championship (2005/2006) with 18-2-2 61:11 record in first part of the league, and the final record, after playoffs, was 24-4-4 78:21. After the first ten games, Dinamo's goal-difference was 32:3, which gave them the highest goal-difference for any professional club in Europe. During this time Dinamo were accredited with playing attractive football.

In the new season, 2006/2007, some high-class players arrived, and Dinamo, beat French side Auxerre 2:1 during a pre-season friendly. Gameplay went worse in the new season, for the key defense midfielders could not give their best due to injuries, but still tremendous effort was made in 2nd leg of Champions league qualifying round against Arsenal in London despite being 3-0 down from the first leg in Zagreb. Playing with a 5-3-2 formation, a much improved Dinamo side from the first leg, held a 1-0 lead until late into the game before Arsenal managed to turn it around with ten minutes remaining and eventually came away with a 2-1 victory. Despite the defeat Dinamo were praised, along with Kuze, for an impressive performance despite some injury concerns, Mathias Chago, Davor Vugrinec and Jens Nowotny all missed the match due to injury.

Despite his success in getting Dinamo in a position to challenge for the Croatian league after a several below-par years his teams performance against Arsenal was deemed not good enough and he left the club in November 2006 with both Kuze and the club stating the agreement was made with mutual consent.[1]

Rwanda National Team

In November 2007 Kuze was appointed manager of the Rwanda replacing Michael Nees who was sacked after failing to qualify for the 2008 African Cup of Nations. His initial contract will run for three years.[2]

JEF United Ichihara Chiba

In January 2008, Japan's J. League side JEF United Ichihara Chiba announced that they appointed Kuze as their head coach.[3] However, this reign lasted just four months, and he was replaced by Alex Miller.

Albania National Team Coach

Kuže has already entered in the history of Albania as the coach with the largest victory against Cyprus in 2009, 6-1 in a friendly. As of March 17 2010 and after 9 month at the job, he has had two victories (in friendlies, with Cyprus and Northern Ireland), two losses, and three draws (of which an important one against Denmark in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Personal character

A thing that describes this man a lot are his past problems with gambling - roulette, to be specific. Due to his immense passion for victory which would later bring him such success with Dinamo, he went so far to make huge debts and have his life threatened. He was at the very bottom, but that experience proved to be worthy later on in his life. He's accepted by the fans as "one of their own", which seldom happened in Dinamo's entire history. Gambling got him very careful, analytic, eager to win, and to never lose hope. Fans describe him as an emotional human being, a man, a leader, and a winner. He's all that. Not ashamed to cry in front of cameras for his beloved departed friend, not afraid to play full-court pressing against Arsenal in London on the new Emirates Stadium, denying Dinamo's "this player must play" policy always coming from the "above", finding mistakes even in biggest victories, making jokes about roulette (even though it almost killed him), always taking the right point of view on things - all make him a man deeply respected and even adored. Actually, he would be adored, if he only wasn't so down-to-earth and realistic. Respect is all he gets, wherever he goes.


  1. ^ "How much of a gamble is Kuze?" Retrieved on 4 November 2007
  2. ^ "Kuze appointed Rwanda coach" BBC Sport Retrieved on 4 November 2007
  3. ^ "Kuze accepts Chiba job" The Japan Times Retrieved on 14 January 2008

Simple English

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