This weeks's
TEMPO magazine (most popular sports magazine in Serbia) features a story about Bata Mirkovic's website and an interview with Bata and the webmaster of this site. Milan Stojiljkovic was the journalist who talked to Bata and myself. This is the translation from TEMPO:

Computers are getting more and more popular and these days many football players have their own websites that help them get in contact with their fans. On their websites you can read news about their career and their personal life.  Those of you who have already surfed the net have no doubt visited websites of football stars. Ronaldo, Vieri, Beckham, Zidane, Figo and many other players have their official websites. Among them, as one of the best, is an official website of our national team player who is now defending the colors of Turkish side Fenerbahce, Zoran Bata Mirkovic.  

If you are searching for information about Bata, visit his official website. All it's content is posted in two languages, Serbian and English, and that gives football fans around the globe a chance to find out information about our football star and also our national team. Bata's site also received a Golden Web Award for creativity, integrity and excellence.   To make everything even more amazing, Bata for a long time didn't even know this website existed. This is a beautiful story about the modern way of life. A story about a popular sportsman and a girl who has with a lot of hard work made something many fans would be envious of.  

"To be honest I can't take credit for this creation", was the first thing Bata said when we praised his internet presentation. "My site has been on the web for a little more than two years. It wasn't opened on my initiative. I learned about it six months later. Lately I have activated myself. I answer questions that fans send to me and give back information. But all the work is done by a girl from Slovenija. Her name is Maja Kovac and the site was her idea."  

Bata's site is in many ways different from the sites of other football players. Bata explains why:
"A year and a half ago I didn't even know how to visit my website. I was a begginer in the computer world. I am no better today. True, I have learnt some things but still I can't consider myself a computer expert."  

Those who know Bata Mirkovic will be aware that he doesn't like to expose himself in public and rarely talks to the media. Because of that it's unusual he has one of the best internet presentations. "I never liked to expose myself. I always tried to be on the side and hide my private life. Even today giving interviews is a nightmare to me. When I give answers to the fans on my website, I always talk to Maja. I tell her everything that is required and then she puts some form in it. We talk on the phone. That's much easier for me. Writing e-mails is not my thing", admits Bata. He also explains computer terms are a big enigma for him.

 Bata and Maja first talked on the phone a year and a half ago and first met in summer of 2001.
"Maja came to Belgrade and that's how we met. My congratulations to the girl. I would like to say all the compliments and praises about my internet presenentation should go to her. I am a parasite who got fame on account of somebody elses work", says Bata smilingly.

The heroine of this story is 25 year old Maja from Slovenija. She has recently finished studying law at university and for the past seven years been working as a translator with at the most viewed TV station in Slovenija called POP TV. Ever since she has started following football she has been Bata Mirkovic's fan. That's how an idea of making a website came about: "At the beggining I didn't know what I was doing. I had no idea what it takes to make a website. I had a lot of pictures of Bata and that is how it started. At first Bata's website only had one page. My friend posted a link on Serbiancafe and fans started coming. They wrote me their suggestions and step by step the site was getting bigger and bigger. It's become easier with time", says Maja.  

There is another thing that differs Bata's site from any other. On it you can also find information about other Yugoslav players. Even though it's an official presentation of one player, some space is also given to others.   "That came about very spontanously", explains Maja. "At the time Bata's site came on the web it was the only website of any Serbian football player. Fans who were visiting the site asked me to post pictures of other players and I did. I didn't see anything wrong with it. Pedja Mijatovic is a good friend of Bata. Why shouldn't there be his pictures on the site?"  
The site was becoming richer and better. Today, when you're looking for information on any Yugoslav player, one of the first links you see on search engines is Bata's website. "I think it's okay that the site contains information about the Yugoslav national team. Yugoslavia played a friendly match against Mexico last week. Even though Bata stayed in Istanbul because of the derby I posted a complete match report. That's Bata's national team".  

It's interesting that for the first year Bata's site was available in English only. Maja didn't write Serbian well but has managed with a help from her friends to solve that problem. "Now my Serbian is much better and I'm writing Serbian news myself. If I make any mistakes, I apologise", says the Slovenian girl.   Slovenian? "Yes", says Maja and then corrects herself. "Actually I'm half Serbian. My mum is from Serbia." Miss Kovac says she supports the Yugoslav national team with all her heart.   "I was very sad when the team didn't qualify for the World Cup. I felt a little better when Slovenia last week lost to Honduras 5-1", says Maja.  

Maja has a boyfriend who is Slovenian. We had to ask her if her boyfriend is jealous when Maja spends so much time working on Bata's site. "No, he is not. He supports the Slovenian national team but he also likes Bata."

Maja says it now takes her much less time to update the site because she is always in contact with Bata and also has other fans helping her. " I remember the time when Bata transfered to Fenerbahce. I was worried how I will be able to continue working on the site. I didn't know one single Turkish word. It turned out Fenerbahce fans are really kind people and they are always willing to help you when their player is concerned. I remember when Bata played in Italy I had no help whatsoever and it was really difficult for me. Fenerbahce fans are different. We have an excellent cooperation. They send me news and pictures. Very often I can post exclusive news from Istanbul", says Maja.  

Maja also told us she is working on Bata's site as an enthusiast and with no intention to profit from it. "Banners on the site are not paid. The sole purpose of the site is to bring Bata closer to the fans and fans closer to Bata."

No doubt the site has succeded. His teammates can truly be envious. And congratulations to Maja. She proved with a full heart you can achive what once seemed so distant.

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Zoran Bata Mirkovic's official website
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