Josip Kuže

Josip Kuže (13 November 1952 – 16 June 2013) was a Croatian football manager and footballer. He was a player and later a manager of Dinamo Zagreb where he played for 10 years, making a total of 384 appearances and scoring 14 goals.

Josip Kuže
Josip Kuže.jpg
Kuže at a news conference in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1952-11-13)13 November 1952
Place of birth Vranje, FPR Yugoslavia
Date of death 16 June 2013(2013-06-16) (aged 60)
Place of death Zagreb, Croatia
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1981 Dinamo Zagreb 151 (5)
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
1990 Budućnost Titograd
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 Chiba
2009–2011 Albania
2012 Tianjin Teda
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing careerEdit

He was a professional football player with Dinamo Zagreb, winning 11 Yugoslavian U-21 caps. He played a minor role among the great players who still have their huge amount of respect today. 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 careerEdit

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 to 1998, 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 to 2002. He then went to manage Inter Zaprešić from 2003 to 2004 and in 2005 he took over coaching of Dinamo Zagreb again, winning the league title in his first year as coach.

Dinamo Zagreb coachEdit

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, 2006–07, 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 second 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 several below-par years, his team's 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 teamEdit

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 ChibaEdit

In January 2008, Japan's J1 League side JEF United Chiba announced that they appointed Kuze as their head coach.[3] However, this reign lasted just four months.,[4] and he was replaced by Alex Miller.

Albania national team coachEdit

Kuže entered in the history of Albania as the coach with the largest victory against Cyprus in 2009, 6–1 in a friendly. As of 27 March 2011 and after 18 months at the job, he has had four victories (including friendlies, with Cyprus and Northern Ireland), three losses, and five draws (of which an important one against Denmark in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers). He is still warmly remembered by the Red and Black Fans organization for deeply affiliating with the Albanian national team.[5]

Tianjin TedaEdit

Kuže was appointed as the new manager of Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda on 6 January 2012.[6] On 20 May, Kuže waved money towards the referee after a Super League match which Tianjin Teda lost to Liaoning Whowin 2-1 by a controversial penalty in the stoppage time.[7] On 22 May, he received a ban of 7 matches and was fined ¥38,000 by CFA for his act and his remarks on the press conference.[8] He was released by Tianjin Teda on 28 May.[9]

Managerial statisticsEdit


Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Gamba Osaka 1996 1997 62 31 0 31 050.00
JEF United Chiba 1 February 2008 7 May 2008 11 0 2 9 000.00
Albania 6 June 2009 15 November 2011 27 9 8 10 033.33
Total 100 40 10 50 040.00


On 16 June 2013, Kuže died of leukemia in Zagreb, aged 60, after a several months' battle with the disease.[11][12]


External linksEdit