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23.10.2015, 16:20
Peak inside the mind of a tactical genius
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FIRST-HAND INSIGHT: Nemanja Savic on understanding the handball philosophy of Dragan Adzic and his work at Buducnost; going into their title-defence season.
 

Peak inside the mind of a tactical genius

Many great minds often get misunderstood. Many great deeds as well. In a fast-developing sport like handball today, it is very easy to let things slip away unnoticed even when it comes to great teams like Buducnost.

In recent years of being close to the action, and moreover, being privileged to share my views with the public, have taught me to pay attention to what is underneath the obvious - read between the lines, if you will.

I have begun to value patience, and found beauty in the details; perceiving simplicity as a goal, not a hindrance to enjoying this incredible game.

One of the protagonists of this approach, as well as a coaching eminence in Women’s handball over the past years had his career path exemplify the above.

Always eager to dispute any claims of their ‘swift rise to the top’ and ‘taking the handball world by storm,’ the man behind Buducnost’s success Dragan Adzic did not hurry his coaching career journey at all.

His path was made of small steps, having joined Buducnost in 2001 as an assistant coach, making sure he does not miss a single step of the way before eventually taking over the team in 2010 - the rest is history.

The blueprint

Over the nine years of being an understudy at Buducnost, the Montenegrin tactician was simultaneously focusing on developing club’s and national youth categories. It is a system that bred the likes of Milena Knezevic, Radmila Petrovic, and Majda Mehmedovic, and continues to produce talent in the form of the current crop of teenagers that were introduced into the team this season.

Having surpassed the initial expectations in a 13-goal win against Sävehof last weekend, home-grown Djurdjina Jaukovic and talented imports Matea Pletikosic and Jovana Kovacevic looked like they have had seasons of Champions League handball under their belt on the eve of their debut in the competition.

It is certain Buducnost are undergoing transition right in front of our eyes, without missing a single step along the way in terms of competitive edge, and it is all due to having the right approach from the very beginning and sticking to it through thick and thin until it produces results.

The very approach often characterized as defensive, conservative or unattractive, while being misunderstood as limiting for the players’ development, has now become the benchmark on which the younger generations of Buducnost and Montenegro are measured upon.

These young girls are sculpted into the first-team ready players through the ranks of their affiliate Danilovgrad, with a view of becoming the next Maja Savic or Bojana Popovic someday - the future is bright in Podgorica.

I would even dare saying the benefits of the implemented system surpass the weight of today’s Buducnost, which in the eyes are set for their Champions League title defence.

The realisation

With praise of the obvious qualities of this Buducnost team in a wonderfully organised backcourt and aggressive defence, comes with a tendency to overlook what remains their understated quality in a delicate world of coaching women, especially when simplicity is the goal (which in reality is far more complex than it seems).

With the backcourt supplying majority of goals as it should be, one of the key elements goes under the radar. Buducnost are a textbook example of how to use defence to create offence, and their transitional defending is a huge part of that.

As much as Cristina Neagu, Milena Raicevic (Knezevic) and Katarina Bulatovic are the motor of the team, the credit is greatly due to the unsung heroes who fight tooth and nail for every ball to convert every possession into an opportunity.

Having a lion’s share of contribution in the success of an entire team are the wings, able to kick their performance a decisive notch, to deliver when everything stalls or fails.

Namely, Majda Mehmedovic, and Radmila Petrovic stand alongside the best wing players in the Champions League having their anticipation, movement and conversion rate in key moments to rival the flamboyance and goal-scoring prowess of their counterparts.  

Rotation is a lethal weapon in the right hands, and is again not often spoken about when it comes to Buducnost; nonetheless, it is where the unsung heroes make their mark.

The presence of Biljana Pavicevic is a big reason behind Mehmedovic’s consistently good performances, while Kinga Achruk  intelligently commands the defence when called upon, alongside the relentless Dragana Cvijic and Suzana Lazovic; while her goal-scoring contributions are sparse but perfectly timed.

Every single player in Buducnost team has a distinct task, Adzic’s player management and motivational skills are the fuel and the igniting spark to this powerful machine.

With a set-up like this, what could possibly go wrong?

Buducnost = the future

Whenever I spoke with Dragan Adzic, he was composed, focused and realistic, often talking about the future without being swayed by any of the present-day challenges; regardless of whether the occasion was the 2014 FINAL4 final defeat or the last season’s triumphant re-claiming of the trophy.

With reality in check and everything in control at all times, can an underlying weakness surface undetected?

With the entire country’s population a little over 620.000 people of which less than one third resides in Podgorica, the domestic players obviously come in short supply.

Aware of that fact, Buducnost have started a project and club has been made into a hub for nation-wide talent - becoming a base for national team selection as well. Talented domestic players were granted the best possible coaching and nurturing for the club and national team alike.

In addition to that, nine of the most promising players of Montenegro highly talented youth generation born in 1996 or later, now sport the colours of Buducnost, with at least as many in the ranks of Danilovgrad hopeful for their chance.

The resourcefulness and incentive displayed in addressing and recognizing the issue, was when as a long-time follower, Buducnost really stood out for me as one of the greatest projects in Women’s handball today.

As the youngsters come of age, having already seamlessly made their transition into the first team, can anyone stop Buducnost in setting the foundation for a long, sovereign rule in Champions League?

Nemanja Savic is a media and communication professional from Serbia, with passion for sports, media, storytelling, traveling and music. He has got a degree in Media & Communication Studies and a diverse professional profile; working as a journalist, translator, media manager and content creator.

Strong handball background and genuine love for the game, sees him perfectly suited for his current filed of work. Needless to say, Nemanja enjoys working as an EHF journalist - and being a former player, sees his work as a way to connect his great passions - media and handball.

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEXT: Nemanja Savic / bc
 
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