FC Halifax Town: How Dino Fazlic went from Bosnia to Halifax

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Halifax is the latest stop on an incredible journey that has taken Dino Fazlic from war-torn Bosnia to West Yorkshire.

The 24-year-old joined The Shaymen last week after being released by Kidderminster and made his debut in the 1-1 draw at Woking last Saturday.

The midfielder was born in Banja Luka in Bosnia, the second largest city in the country, but moved to Germany when he was just seven months old after his family escaped from the Bosnian War.

Around 100,000 people were killed in the conflict and around half the country’s population, about two million people, were displaced.

Fazlic and his family were among the lucky ones; they relocated to Bremen in Germany where Dino began his football career. Others weren’t so fortunate.

“You have three big religious groups there - Serbs, Bosnians and Croatians,” he explained.

“Before the war everybody got on well but politics came, which is how every war starts.

“I was lucky that I don’t know anything about it personally.

“But my father’s side of my family is quite big and, although they don’t tell me how many, there have been some victims.

“You just have to move on. War happens and you have to learn from these things and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“You have to respect every other religion, respect each other.

“It’s not easy to talk about. It makes me emotional, but I’m just happy I was small at the time and my family had the strength and the ability to get out of it.”

After starting a new life in Germany, Fazlic didn’t take long to take his first steps in a career in football that has seen him play in four different countries for six different clubs.

“I was seven or eight when I joined Bremen,” he said.

“I played in all their youth teams right up to their second team, but there were some problems with the gaffer there so I decided to move on.

“I got a chance for a trial at Bolton Wanderers which was successful so I joined them.

“But I had an unlucky start there because I got injured straight away so I was out for a month.

“When I came back after that I got injured the next week for six months, which was an ankle fracture.

“I came back in March but unfortunately they got relegated and had to get rid of a few players.

“Then I went to Grasshoppers in Zurich and played there for a year but I didn’t really get my chance in the first-team, I only played friendly games, which I wasn’t happy with.

“I was then on trial at Fulham, the gaffer (Felix Magath) liked me and I stayed there for half a year, but he got sacked and I had to move on again.

“I went to Croatia (at NK Zadar), played a game but got injured for three months and only played two games there all season.

“I was without a club until October then I decided to move to Kidderminster and now I’m here.

“It’s a long story but I’m just looking forward to playing and helping the team climb the table.”

Fazlic, who speaks three languages - German, Bosnian/Croatian and English - played against Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle in German youth football.

Bolton was his first foray abroad after being released by Werder Bremen, and he admits living in England took some getting used to.

He said: “The first year when I moved to Bolton, I lived in Manchester and I had a good friend in Ivan Klasnic who played with me there.

“It was tough because I was only 19 and I was homesick and missed my family and friends but Ivan helped me a lot.

“In the year I lived there I learnt more than the previous five years I’d lived at home - I had to wash and cook for myself.

“The first few months was hard with the language but then my English improved.”

After spells with Bolton and Fulham, Fazlic is well placed to compare the English and German styles of football.

“The first thing you always say about English football is that it’s hard and fast. Not always, but most of the time, the ball goes quite long,” he said.

“There are loads of talents in the UK so if teams tried to play more football it would be good.

“Obviously the big teams like Arsenal and Chelsea try to play football but in the Conference you see a lot of teams who just go long and go for the second balls.

“But I like the way we are trying to play with the gaffer, he wants to play football, which suits my game.

“The big difference between England and Germany is that it’s harder and faster in England but more technical and tactical in Germany.”

Fazlic admits it was a challenge to join a team in the Conference, having never played for a club beneath the second tier in their respective country, but retains an ambition to play at a higher level.

“You’d think it’s the fifth league and it’s not that good but when I first moved to Kidderminster and played my first few games, I thought it was tough to play in,” he said.

“The referees are not the best either!

“Mentally it’s hard to drop down to this level but hopefully I can go one step back to then go two or even three steps forward.

“Sometimes you need to go back before you can go forward again, so hopefully it will work out.

“After the first session, Jim (Harvey) said he was happy with how I’d done and wanted to sign me.

“Right from the first training session, I had a good feeling about the team, they’re all good lads, which makes it easier for me.

“There are a lot of things that make me happy but to leave a pitch after 90 minutes having given everything I had and my team has won, for me it is the best feeling ever.

“This is the desire that drives me on.

“I’m going to do that until I can’t run any more, which is hopefully many years yet.”