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18.02.2014, 09:53
Vardar secure long-term future of big-name players
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NEWS REPORT: Lekic and Dibirov set to become icons for the ambitious Skopje club as they aim to be successful in both the women’s and men’s game
 

Vardar secure long-term future of big-name players

Monday capped a busy few days of negotiations at Vardar Skopje, as the club announced contract extensions for 13 players across both men’s and women’s teams.

The women’s team has every chance of reaching this season’s Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and their rise to prominence has prompted the club’s top officials to make sure that they enjoy long-term success in Europe.

The day after staying top of Group 2 in the main round of the continent’s premier club competition with a 24:23 home win over Danish title holders FC Midtjylland, Vardar extended the contracts of the club’s top eight players.

As Vardar announced on their official website, Russian goalkeeper Irina Suslina has vowed to stay at the club until 2018, while her compatriot Tatiana Khmyrova extended her contract until 2017.

Serbian playmaker Andrea Lekic, the World Handball Player of the Year 2013, heads a pack of players who signed a two-year extention and will stay until 2016 alongside Montenegro right wing Jovanka Radicevic, Croatia’s Maja Zebic as well as the French trio of Siraba Dembele, Allison Pineau and goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud.

New additions

But perhaps the biggest bombshell announced at Monday’s press conference was the news that Croatian left back Andrea Penezic and her Krim Mercator team mate Barbara Lazovic-Varlec would join Vardar next season from the Slovenian title holders.  

There is little doubt that the “dream team” in the making has all the prerequisites to become a dominant force in Europe.

“Two years ago when we launched this project, we knew it would be difficult to entice the big names of European handball to Vardar straight away,” club president Gordana Naceva told reporters.

“But we have done a great job after it became clear that Vardar was a desirable destination and we now have enough quality in our ranks to achieve the highest objectives,” she added.

“I am also very pleased with how our academy has developed from grassroots level, as our project has been introduced to schools. We want to provide excellent conditions to children with a penchant for sports.”

Vardar are top of the EHF CL Main Round Group 2 with five points from three games and their next challenge is a visit to Midtjylland on March 2.

Dibirov signs a six-year deal

The big news from the men’s section of the club came from the agreement of a long-term deal with Timur Dibirov

30-year-old Dibirov, one of the top left wing players in the VELUX EHF Champions League and comfortably the club’s top scorer in the competition with 53 goals, will remain until the end of his professional career at Vardar.

He signed a contract with the Skopje club until 2020 and leads a list of players remaining at the club including line player Alem Toskic (until 2016), Igor Karacic (2017), Ilija Abutovic (2017) and Strahinja Milic (2019).

“This is only the first round of contracts, and I promise there will be more players signing from our current squad. We wanted to finish these difficult games in the Champions League before announcing this good news,” said club spoonsor Sergej Samsonenko.

The Macedonian champions have already secured a Last 16 place in the VELUX EHF Champions League and are looking to win the both the Macedonian and SEHA League this season.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic, Goran Antevski / cor
 
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