Croatia President wins hearts at the World Cup - Daily Nation

Croatia President Grabar-Kitarović's wins hearts at the World Cup

Wednesday July 11 2018

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (right) attends the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Croatia and Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on July 1, 2018. PHOTO | AFP

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (right) attends the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Croatia and Denmark in Nizhny Novgorod on July 1, 2018. PHOTO | AFP  

By MARION MAINA
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Apart from scores, the World Cup brings about more thrills with each season. From the catchy anthems to colourful flags and jerseys, the world all over is gripped by a state of euphoria.

Sports betting companies dive in for the kill as fortunes are made…or lost. Animals are not left out of the hullabaloo either. Their perceived psychic powers are said to predict who will win.

It is a season of pomp and colour and also of outstanding discoveries.

In the last World Cup of 2014, former President Jose Mujica of Uruguay become renowned as the ‘World’s poorest president'. He lived in a farm, drove a modest car and donated 90 per cent of his $12,000 (Sh1.2 million) salary to charities, remaining with only $774 (Sh78,000).

This year, another president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, won many hearts globally for her enthusiastic celebration after Croatia knocked out Russia in the quarter finals securing a place in 2018 World Cup semis.

Croatia's players celebrate winning the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match against Russia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018.  PHOTO| AFP

Croatia's players celebrate winning the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match against Russia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on July 7, 2018. PHOTO| AFP

It is the first time since 1998 that Croatia is advancing to the World Cup semi-finals.

This could explain the victory jig by President Grabar-Kitarović clad in Croatia national colours -- red and white -- right in front of Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev following the penalty victory shoot-out against Russia in Sochi.

President Grabar-Kitarović flew economy class with fellow Croatian soccer fans from Zagreb to watch her country play the quarter finals in Russia.

After the successful game, she paid a surprise visit to the Croatian team in the locker room. Despite the young men being all hot and sweaty, President Grabar-Kitarović did not hesitate to give the team members congratulatory hugs and encouragement. Her joy and pride in their stunning performance was palpable.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and FIFA president Gianni Infantino attend the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Russia and Croatia.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and FIFA president Gianni Infantino attend the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Russia and Croatia. PHOTO| AFP

Many netizens continue to laud President Grabar-Kitarović for her passionate support for the country’s soccer team. Her modesty in flying economy class with Croatian fans and taking group selfie photos was the talk of the internet. In addition, she opted to watch the quarter-finals match between Croatia and Denmark from the stands, and not the VIP section.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović took office as Croatia’s president at the age of 46, becoming the country’s youngest president.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic toasts next to her husband Jakov (right) in celebration of her election as Croatia's first female president on January 11, 2015.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic toasts next to her husband Jakov (right) in celebration of her election as Croatia's first female president on January 11, 2015. PHOTO | AFP.

She is also the country’s first female president.

Prior to her election into office, Grabar-Kitarović served as Foreign Affairs minister as well as Croatia’s ambassador to the US.

She is a linguist and can speak more than five languages, including French, German and Italian. President Grabar-Kitarović is married and has two children.