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19.03.2013, 10:08
Serbia must capitalise on EHF EURO 2012 legacy, says Bošković
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Coach emphasises the importance of a successful tournament for future generations
 

Serbia must capitalise on EHF EURO 2012 legacy, says Bošković

Still reminiscing about December’s EHF EURO 2012, where hosts Serbia exceeded expectations to finish fourth, national team coach Saša Bošković stressed the biggest bonus from the 16-nation tournament was the legacy it produced for future generations to build on.

“I travelled a lot around Serbia and in the past few months I have seen a dramatic rise in interest for handball among primary and secondary school pupils, which is the biggest bonus of organising the European Championship and doing exceptionally well to finish fourth,” Bošković told a news conference; as Serbia are gearing up for a pair of friendlies against neighbours FYR Macedonia on Thursday and Saturday during the March 18-25 national team week.

“We have only the happiest memories of what was a truly great tournament and it should be a platform for future success, starting with the upcoming IHF World Championship on home soil in December.

“We want a podium finish this time, but more importantly, we also want to see even more kids take up handball next January.” he said.

The doubleheader against the Macedonians will be the first stage of Serbia’s build-up for the World Championship and Bošković acknowledged that winning a medal will be a tough task with all the European giants standing in their way and joined by the likes of Brazil, South Korea, and Angola.

“You have to play the best teams and beat them if you want to win a medal and my players have no illusions about the enormity of the task.

“Once again I wish to thank them and the staff for doing a great job at EHF EURO 2012, now is the time to use the good work as a springboard for bigger things,” Bošković pointed out.

“We will use the upcoming two games against FYR Macedonia to try various tactical strategies and although many of the players are exhausted from a torrid schedule, they know that every moment at national team build-ups is crucial in the long term,”

“Serbia will no longer come as a surprise package to any of our rivals and hence we will have to work even harder to be among the medal contenders in December.

“We will take part in a strong tournament alongside Sweden and Denmark in May and that too should be a good test of our credentials and ambitions.”

Left back Sanja Damnjanović, one of Serbia’s outstanding players at the EHF EURO 2012, rekindled her own fond memories of the event which ended with a spectacular final in Belgrade’s Kombank Arena, with Montenegro winning their maiden international title after a dramatic win over the more heralded Norway.

“Apart from ruing the missed opportunity to win the bronze medal in the third-place match against Hungary, I have only the happiest recollections from what was a fantastic event.

“Our failure to cap an impressive run with a medal may turn out to be a blessing in disguise because it should galvanise us to play above our limits at the World Championship,” said Damnjanović, who plays her club handball for Croatian champions Podravka Vegeta.

“We can only benefit from the upcoming two games against FYR Macedonia and we will use them to keep up the kind of team spirit we had last December, as all the girls are really focused on the World Championship and delighted to take centre stage on home court again,” Damnjanović said in conclusion.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / cor
 
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