We can already present the first newcomers for the project NK Maribor 2018
Kenan Pirić will remain with Zrinjski until the end of the season and than join our team
Foto: Drago Wernig
The team is enjoying their well-deserved break, the dressing room is empty, but this doesn’t mean that Ljudski vrt is at a standstill. The club offices are a hive of activity and we can already present the first newcomers for the project NK Maribor 2018.

New members of NK Maribor are 23-year-old goalkeeper of Zrinjski Kenan Pirić, and Kassim Doumbia, the 27-year-old defender from Mali, who also holds Belgian citizenship and to date has been playing for FH Hafnarfjördur. The 19-year old Zrinjski midfielder Marijan Ćavar is also close to joining. Here’s a fun fact: all three played against our club in the summer.

Sports Director Zlatko Zahovič presented the newcomers, who we came to know in this year’s Champions League qualifiers: “If we start with the keeper, Kenan Pirić is one of the most talented goalkeepers in this part of Europe. He’s a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team alongside such an amazing keeper as Asmir Begović. He’s got loads of potential and his quality is unquestionable. He will join our team next summer. We’ve reached an agreement with the representatives of Zrinjski to let him play in Mostar until the end of the season to try and win the much-coveted league title with them. After that, he will join our team and raise the competition for the place between the sticks.

Kassim Doumbia was our choice to improve the back line. At the end of the first part of the season, we were down to only to centre backs, Šuler and Billong, along with Uskoković, who impressed in the cup tie against Olimpija. Rajčević is injured, as is Šme. Šuler is thinking of hanging up the boots, which I hope won’t happen soon. Either way, we have had to react, because a strong defence is the foundation of every successful team. And we had no second thoughts on who to pick. We were all very impressed with Doumbia’s performances in the 3rd round of the Champions League qualifiers, both in Maribor and in Iceland. We’ve been tracking him and we think he will make the team stronger.”

Apart from the two completed deals, there’s a third one on the horizon. “Marijan Ćavar is one of the most talented midfielders in the region. We have an agreement with Zrinjski and we expect a favourable outcome in the deal to sign the member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national under-21 team. As far as we are concerned, the deal is complete. We have a good relationship with Zrinjski. Those who work for the champions of Bosnia and Herzegovina are earnest people, and we are waiting for the club and the player to come to an agreement,” said the Sports Director.