Ante Šimundža

Ante Šimundža (born 28 September 1971) is a Slovenian football manager and former professional footballer. He was the manager of Maribor from September 2013 until August 2015.

Club career

He started his career in the youth selections of Železničar Maribor and moved to Maribor after the independence of Slovenia in 1991. He stayed there for six seasons scoring 64 league goals in 170 appearances. He played for a number of different foreign clubs between 1997 and 1998, however, plagued by constant ankle injuries he soon returned to his home town club. There he was an important part of Maribor's qualification to the UEFA Champions League during the 1999–2000 season. He was the scorer of the winning goal in the first round of the group stage when Maribor defeated Dynamo Kyiv in Kiev, Ukraine. In 2001, he again moved abroad and played for La Louvière, before returning to his native country and finishing his professional career with Aluminij and Šmartno. Šimundža has made a total of 256 Slovenian PrvaLiga appearances, scoring 87 goals in the process. Considered a Maribor club legend, he is tied with Gregor Židan as a player with the most appearances for the club during the 1990s.

International career

Šimundža has been capped three times for the Slovenia national football team between 1993 and 1999. He has represented his nation on matches against Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece.

Coaching career

Šimundža began his coaching career in 2003, when he was a coach of the youth selections at Železničar Maribor, where he started his career as a player. He started his senior coaching career in 2008, when he was appointed as an assistant coach of Darko Milanič at Maribor. He was part of Maribor's sports department until 2011 when he was selected as a head coach of Mura 05. His season with Mura 05 was impressive and he turned the team around, changing it from a relegation contender to the eventual UEFA competitions qualifier, as the club finished third during the 2011–12 Slovenian PrvaLiga season. By the end of his first season as head coach, he was nominated for the best coach in the league. He then accepted an offer of the one time Austrian champions, GAK, signing with the club in June 2012.

Personal life

Šimundža was born in Maribor, present day Slovenia as the youngest of two children, with his sister being six years older than him. His father was a Croat from Split and his mother a Slovene from Kidričevo. He is married and has two sons named Luka and Jure, who got their names after their grandfathers.