Bora in the house
|"Bora ... Bora ... Bora" - Milutinovic sure has a lot of friends.|
Right on time, Bora Milutinovic showed up last night at Ellis Park wrapped in a blue parka and a South Africa scarf. He's very adaptable, having taken five different squads from three continents to five different World Cups.
His closet probably looks like the rack outside a Kensington Market vintage shop.
Here's the scene when Bora shows up (and he always shows up. The last World Cup he actually coached at was eight years ago). He draws a crowd. Four years ago outside Dortmund's stadium – still the best place I've ever seen a game in, an old-timey box with a stand right up on the backs of the players on the bench and oozing atmosphere – he stood at the ready, greeting old friends and answering questions in receiving-line style in almost any language.
Last night it was more like Bora at the eye of a little hurricane. He stood surrounded, trying to make an escape. But this is the thing about him – he really doesn't want to escape. He loves it. They came at him with microphones and video cameras. He smiled, pivoted to the next face, the next mike, the next country.
An Argentine women, in Spanish: “Bora, what do you think of Argentina?”
“Bueno,” he answers. “Muy bueno.”
A German guy, sprechen sie Deutsch: “How do you think the Germans will do against them?”
The steadycam lights up his face. He stops for a long answer in German. I think the rough Coles Notes translation reads “bueno.” The light goes off. A couple of Chinese shake his hand – yeah, he had a stint there. Some old friend from his native Serbia barges through the group and looks at him, opens his arms, and they embrace. Then it's back to it. I sense my opportunity.
“What are the chances of you ever coaching Canada?” I ask.
Momentary confusion on his face. Still hovering for her next bite, the Argentine reporter flashes me a smoldering how-dare-you look that's totally irresistible, and my knees buckle. Or maybe it's just the rickety media centre floor.
“Canada, Canada,” Bora mumbles. It's like I'm the teacher, and he forgot to study last night's lesson. He so wants to help, this Bora. “No, no.”
Sensing the vacuum, a French reporter asks Bora about Les Bleus' collapse. Bora is swallowed, the little storm inching away.
Till next time, Bora. Like, say, four years from now, in Brazil.