TOP-FLIGHT JACKS: Dzemal Hadziabdic

16th November 2015
Top Flight Jacks


In our new website feature, we focus on players who featured for Swansea City during the club's previous foray into the top flight of English football.
Here, we put the spotlight on former Yugoslavian defender Dzemal Hadziabdic.

DZEMAL HADZIABDIC
Date of birth: July 25, 1953
Appearances/goals for the Swans: 114 apps; one goal.
Former clubs: Velez Mostar (1971-1980); Swansea City (1980-83)
Memorable moment: Scoring his one and only goal for the Swans against Chelsea at the Vetch Field, during his first season with the club.
Did you know? Hadziabdic won Swansea's Player of the Season award after an impressive maiden campaign with the club.

Just as the Swans were preparing for an assault on the Second Division title in 1980, a Yugoslavian agent approached manager John Toshack with a view to bringing his client to South Wales. That player was Dzemal Hadziabdic.
And after playing the first half of a pre-season friendly at the Vetch Field against Tottenham Hotspur, Hadziabdic received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd. His impressive display earned him a contract with the club, for whom he made his professional debut in a League Cup fixture at Arsenal in September 1980.
Though he played for his country in midfield, Jimmy - as he became affectionately known - played at left-back for the Swans, forming a formidable partnership down the left flank with Leighton James. The Yugoslavian was comfortable in possession and also a good reader of the game, which enabled him to switch from midfield to defensive duties without too many problems.
The £160,000 paid for Hadziabdic was fast proving money well spent and, at the end of his first season, he was a member of the Swans side that played at Preston North End in that never-to-be-forgotten game before winning a Welsh Cup winner's medal two weeks later.
Swansea's first full season in the first division - Jimmy's second campaign with the Swans - was also a big success for the club. But though Jimmy was a regular in the side, he had problems with a leg injury that affected his game and, with it, his confidence.
Still, at the season's end he could feel satisfied with another Welsh Cup winner's medal after the Swans defeated Cardiff City in a two-legged final.
But in his third and final season at the Vetch Field, Jimmy's injuries restricted his playing time, while he had to witness the club go into meltdown from the sidelines. A public dispute with the manager in March 1983 signalled the end to Jimmy's time at Swansea City. He moved back to his homeland, taking up coaching positions until civil war broke out in his country.
Due to the conflict, Hadziabdic was forced to flee to the Middle East, where he managed various clubs throughout the region with great success.
He eventually became the head coach of the Qatar national side, whom narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup in France 1998. Hadziabdic found further success with club side AL Vacra, and is currently manager of United Arab Emirati side Madinat Zaid.
Throughout his entire career, as a player and coach, Jimmy has always retained a love for the city of Swansea and still has his home here, no matter where he has been working in the world.
The feeling of affection for Jimmy in these parts was shown when the club played a friendly match in September 1992 to raise money for Jimmy and his devastated home of Mostar in what is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The game featured the current Swans side of that time, as well as players from the class of 1981. The funds raised went some way to helping Jimmy and his family in their time of need.