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22.10.2013, 14:00
Lekic ready to lead Serbia into double-header
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MATCH PREVIEW: Serbia’s captain sees EHF EURO 2014 qualifiers as test for World Championship 2013 on home court
 

Lekic ready to lead Serbia into double-header

With just six weeks remaining before the Women's World Championship 2013 starts on home court, Serbia will get their EHF EURO 2014 qualifying campaign underway with a home game against Switzerland in Vrnajcka Banja on Wednesday (23 October) followed by a tricky visit to Slovenia on Sunday.

Apart from being an acid test ahead of the World Championship, which Serbia will host after it also organised EHF EURO 2012 in which they finished fourth, the Group 5 double-header will be crucial in making the right start in the Balkan country’s bid to reach next year’s 16-nation tournament in Hungary and Croatia.

The Serbians, who will also face Sweden in a finely balanced pool, will miss injured pivot Dragana Cvijic against Switzerland while first-choice goalkeeper Katarina Tomasevic is doubtful for both macthes.

"As ever, our objective is to win both games," captain Andrea Lekić told a news conference in Belgrade as the team gathered after most of the players were on duty for a gruelling Women's EHF Champions League weekend.

"We are aware that there is preciously little time to prepare for the upcoming World Championship and therefore every EURO qualifier is an opportunity to improve our form in time for the 24-team tournament on home soil," she added.

Goalkeepers’ coach Dragica Djuric, a former trophy-laden international, reaffirmed that Serbia would benefit from matches against Switzerland and Slovenia in their quest to win a first medal in women’s handball as an independent nation.

"These two games are another step in our build-up for the World Championship, which started with a very successful run in last year’s European Championship," she said. "The girls are in a great mood and the atmosphere is fantastic."

Coach Sasa Boskovic (pictured above) assessed Slovenia were a strong side capable of giving anyone a hard time on home court and added his team should be  strong favourites against the Swiss.

"I am delighted that all the players turned up after the weekend exertions for their clubs and we are all looking forward to getting our EURO 2014 qualifying campaign underway," he said.

"This Serbian team has earned the attention and spotlight they are getting and our objective in the World Championship remains to win a medal for our country. We have a bright future," Bošković told reporters.

Serbia's squad for Rounds 1 and 2 of the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification

Goalkeepers: Katarina Tomasevic (Nantes), Jovana Risovic (Radnicki Belgrade), Ana Kacarevic (Jagodina)

Wings: Svetlana Ognjenovic (Metz Handball), Jelena Nisavic (Jagodina), Katarina Krpez (Krim Mercator),  Ivana Milosevic (Radnički Belgrade)

Line players: Dragana Cvijic (Budućnost Podgorica), Sanja Rajovic (Lokomotiva Zagreb), Sladana Pop-Lazic (Besancon), Marija Lojpur (Vardar Skopje).

Backs: Sanja Damnjanovic (Vardar Skopje), Biljana Filipovic (Nice), Jovana Stojiljkovic (Le Havre), Andrea Lekic (Vardar Skopje), Marina Dmitrovic (Vardar Skopje), Kristina Liscevic (Metz Handball), Jelena Eric (Astrakhanochka),  Jelena Popovic (Nantes) and Jelena Zivkovic (HC Podravka Vegeta).


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / ts
 
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