Three new players for Budućnost
Following on from the capture of Claudine Mendy, Budućnost have announced three more new signings for next season as their plans to build a young team for the future continue.
New players coming to the EHF Women's Champions League winners are two Croatians – 19-year-old line player Katarina Ježić, 23-year-old goalkeeper Katarina Bralo and the 20-year-old Serbian left back Jelena Trifunović.
And Serbian right back Jelena Živković from FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria has also signed for Budućnost, but she will be loaned to Croatian Podravka for next season.
Ježić is one of the most promising Croatian players, one of the most talented European players at her position and a regular member of the Croatian national team.
At the World Championships in Brazil she scored 15 goals in nine games. She played for Lokomotiva Zagreb over the last two seasons, reaching the semi-finals of this season’s Challenge Cup. Before Lokomotiva, she played for Croatian clubs Vinodol, Rijeka, Orijent Presoflex and Zamet.
“The negotiations started a month ago and we quickly agreed, so I watched the EHF Women's Champions League final games with great attention - that was real handball!” Ježić said to Croatian media.
“Dragana Cvijić will be out for six months because she is having surgery, Đokić may leave, and there is my peer Suzana Lazović. So there is a lot of quality at the pivot position, but I know what I have to do and how to be imposed myself in such company,” she added.
Since Đokić is definitely leaving the club and Dragana Cvijić will undergo surgery to her left knee ligaments, Ježić will have lot of space to play at the beginning of the next season.
Katarina Bralo spent the last two seasons in France with Nimes. She was born in Munich, and began her career with local side PSV Munich. She played just one season in Croatia, 2005/2006 season with Podravka.
After that she played for German teams Frankfurter and Thüringer, and then she went to Viborg in Denmark and was part of the team (as a replacement for Katrine Lunde Haraldsen), who won EHF Women's Champions League title in 2010, playing together with Bojana Popović.
Finally, occasional Serbian national player Jelena Trifunović was close to signing for Budućnost last summer, but the deal fell through at the last minute. Formerly with Serbian clubs Vrnjačka Banja and Jagodina, she went to Metalurg a year ago, but in January she left Skoplje because of financial problems at the FYROM club. In the second half of the season she played for Red Star Belgrade, where she is already three months into a training program with conditioning coach of Budućnost Marko Mrak.
After the Second Leg of the EHF Women's Champions League, Bojana Popović and Maja Savić confirmed they will retire. Goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarović will also leave the club in search of a club where she will be first choice, since this season she didn’t have many chances because of the great form of Clara Woltering.
Dijana Jovetić, Croatian right winger, is also leaving Podgorica, and she will be replaced by young Željka Nikolić.
Uncertain, however, is the situation with the two middle backs Anđela Bulatović and Ana Radović. President Predrag Bošković has held talks but no agreement has yet been reached. Radović could leave for Russia, to play for Zvezda Zvenirigod.
Romanian Adriana Tacalie has one more year of contract, but it is not certain if she will be part of the team for next season.
TEXT: Saša Jončić