Mitar Mrkela (Serbian Cyrillic: Mитap Mpкeлa; born 10 July 1965 in Belgrade) is a retired Serbian football player, who was a member of the Yugoslavian team that won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
|Date of birth||10 July 1965|
|Place of birth||Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia|
|1983–1990||Red Star Belgrade||154||(30)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He started his senior pro career with OFK Beograd in 1981 at only 16 years and 16 days of age (at that time the youngest ever in the Yugoslav First League), before moving on to Red Star Belgrade in 1983 where he stayed until 1990. After appearing in one league game for Red Star in 1990/91 season, he transferred to Dutch club Twente Enschede and stayed there for two seasons. He played several matches for Beşiktaş J.K. in the 1992-1993 season and scored 4 goals, before returning to the Netherlands with Cambuur Leeuwarden.
Mrkela holds distinction as the youngest player ever to play for SFR Yugoslavia national squad. He was only 17 years and 130 days old when he made his national team debut on 17 November 1982 during a Euro 1984 qualifier versus Bulgaria in Sofia. Head coach Todor Veselinović brought him on in the 17th minute in place of injured Zvonko Živković. However, despite a lot of early promise, Mrkela would go on to make only 5 national team appearances, scoring 1 goal.
For a time in early 2000s, Mrkela was the president of City of Belgrade Football Association. He then became the youth coach in the OFK Beograd system.
In July 2005, soon after Dragan Stojković took over as club president from Dragan Džajić, Mrkela became the director of Red Star Belgrade youth academy - a job up to that moment performed by Goran Đorović.
After leaving his post at Red Star in December 2008, he became the sporting director at OFK Beograd.
During the early 1990s Mrkela married actress Lidija Vukićević. The couple divorced in 2000. They have two sons, Andrej Mrkela, born in 1992, who is also a professional footballer and currently plays for Spartak Subotica and David, born in 1997.
- (in Serbian) Profile on Serbian national football team website
- Mitar Mrkela at National-Football-Teams.com
- Mitar Mrkela – FIFA competition record (archived)