Republika Srpksa will send an age-capped team to Italy next week to face Serie A side Udinese as they continue to press FIFA for the right to play friendlies.
|Srpska wish to have FIFA's approval to play friendlies|
The entity will travel to Udine on 5th March with a group of players, either under-21 or under 23, drawn from the Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian top-flight as well as other leagues in Europe.
Manager Branimir Tulić is expected to name a low-key squad drawn from different Balkan leagues with Vojvodina midfielder Nikola Popara and FK Leotar’s Stefan Udovičić likely to be included. Zoran Nikić, with 6 goals in the Bosnian top-flight this season for Radnik Bijeljina, could start in attack.
Tulić will name the squad this week just months after FIFA refused a request by the Football Association of Republika Srpska (FS RS) to play Serbia in a full senior friendly.
FIFA’s decision comes despite the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FF BiH) declaring in July last year that they have no objection to Srpska playing friendlies. The rejection also came at the same time FIFA allowed Kosovo to play.
Sepp Blatter visited the Serbian FA last summer and was reportedly supportive of such a game going ahead. Indeed FS RS president Mile Kovačević said at the time “the date of the game will be solved very soon, either August, September or October”.
Srpska have faced FIFA blockage before. In 2008 an under-19’s game against Serbia was cancelled as well as a proposed match with Macedonia.
|The FS RS & FF BiH work together|
Youth teams have recently been more accepted by FIFA however with the under-15 side meeting both Hungary and the Serbs in the past year gaining a creditable draw with the latter in November.
The FS RS have stated before that they do not want international recognition and want to remain part of the FF BiH but wish to be allowed to play friendly international matches once a year.
Allegedly several big name players have expressed interest in playing for a Srpska representative side including Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotić and Zdravko Kuzmanović of Internazionale. Chelsea’s Marco Marin, currently on loan at Sevilla, is another.