Kovač brothers take charge of Croatia

Former Croatian internationals Niko and Robert Kovač have replaced Ivan Šušak in charge of the national Under-21 side, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has announced.

Brothers Robert and Niko Kovač played together for Croatia
Brothers Robert and Niko Kovač played together for Croatia ©Getty Images

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) has announced that brothers Niko and Robert Kovač will take charge of the country's Under-21 side.

The former internationals succeed Ivan Šušak, who led the team to a fourth-place finish in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 5, which concluded in September.

"This is an important moment for HNS," said president Davor Šuker. "These are men who know what it means to wear the Croatia shirt and all young players can see an example in them. We all hope they will reach our expectations."

"We will do our best to make the players ready to follow our path," said Niko, who captained the full national team during an illustrious career in which he turned out as a midfielder for Hamburger SV, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern München. "I hope they will be the nation's pride and that we will have a good relationship with the senior national coach [Igor Štimac]."

The siblings have a wealth of international experience, with Robert, a former Bayern, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund defender, winning 84 caps. Niko made one fewer appearance, but scored an impressive 14 goals. The role is Robert's first in a coaching capacity, while Niko has experience working as an assistant at FC Salzburg.