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Ljubomir Kokeza

Personal information
Full nameLjubomir Kokeza
Date of birth15 May 1920
Place of birthSplit, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Date of death22 August 1992(age 72)

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Ljubomir "Ljubo" Kokeza (15 May 1920 in Split - 22 August 1992) was Croatian football player that played for both Hajduk Split and Yugoslavia in the 40s and 50s.

Ljubomir Kokeza was not only a talented player, but also a true fan of his club Hajduk Split, and always remained loyal to the club for which played for so many years. Born in Split, Kokeza began to play football in his neighbourhood quarters and joined NK Split in 1935 where he stayed for two years. In the summer of 1937, he transferred to Hajduk Split, and played two seasons for the club's youth team.

From 1939 he began to play for the seniors and remained a regular until he retired in 1957. For a brief period during the 1942-1943 season Kokeza played for HAŠK Zagreb.

The right back played 625 matches for Hajduk Split scoring 8 goals, and had great success at his beloved Hajduk, the first coming in the 1940-1941 season when the club won the Croatian Championship, and qualified for the Yugoslavian National Championship for the first time in the club's history. He won a further Croatian Championship with the club in 1946, and followed it up with three Yugoslav league titles in 1950, 1952 and 1955.

Despite playing twice for Yugoslavia, against Czechoslovakia in 1946 and against Egypt in 1952, Kokeza did not have much luck at international level as his abilities deserved.

After retiring in 1957, he managed several club sides in the lower divisions, NK Dalmatinac Split, NK Split, NK Jadran Kaštel Sućurac and NK Solin. While he spent several years coaching abroad in the 60s and 70s in Egypt, Iraq and Libya.

Having had a successful coaching spell in Egypt in the early to mid 60s, he became the Iraq national team's first ever foreign coach in 1968. However after four defeats in four matches at the 1969 Jaam-e-Doosti Friendship Cup in Tehran, the coach was relieved of his duties, and spent the remainder of his contract with the Iraq Football Association coaching the Iraqi military team.

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