Slaven Zambata

Aug 24, 1940 - Oct 29, 2020(80)

Head or letter?!

Everything depended on one thing - a coin.

It was the cult season of 1966/67. Dinamo's "golden team" participated in the Fair Cities Cup. In the return match, they won the Czech Spartak 2:0. Since the first match was held in Brno, ended with 2:0 for Spartak, the passage to the second round was decided by a coin.

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Even when he was a child, Zambata always picked heads when tossing a coin. Before the start of the game, the captains chose the side by tossing a coin. Zambata decided to choose a letter for a change. A coin was tossed and it came up heads. Wrong choice. Zambata thought to himself: - It doesn't matter which side we go to... - Then the overtime came. The coin was tossed again. Zambata picked the letter again. The referee tossed a coin and it came up heads. Zambata was already tense. He thought: - Today luck is not on my side... -

The match was a draw. Since there were no penalties at that time, the referee demanded that the coin be tossed again. Although he loved games of chance and often won them, Zambata became worried. After playing a tough game in which he barely scored a goal himself, the fate of the entire championship depended on his luck in the flip of a coin.

The tension could be cut with a knife. - What now? Head – or letter! - he thought. He knew that his head always brought him luck and that he should have chosen it in the first two throws. Still, he was consistent. He chose the letter. A coin was tossed. And then an incredible thing happened. Since the pitch was rough, the coin got stuck between two grasses.

The angry referee dragged the captains to the track. The throw is repeated. The judge took the coin and threw it in the air. Those few seconds of throwing for Zambata lasted forever. The coin flipped and flipped and flipped. The stadium was silent, broken by the thump of a small but fateful coin that fell on the flat ground of the athletics track. Tense and expectant, all the players, referees, delegates and rivals leaned over him. Everyone's breath stopped at that decisive moment. Luck had its say. There was - a letter. Thunderous screams of the Blues echoed through the stadium. They threw themselves on the lawn, sang and were happy. They passed to the second round.

There are several legends that say that Zambata, without even looking at the coin, told his team to jump and rejoice as if they had won. There is also a legend that Zambata reached into his wallet and, instead of the mud coin with which they played the first two throws, gave the judge a coin that had two sides. But that was not necessary. Luck was with Zambata and Modre that day. They made it to the second round, and luck didn't leave them until the end of the championship. That season, Dinamo won the Fair Cities Cup. Zambata was one of the best scorers in that championship, and it seems that he scored a full goal in the coin toss as well.

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