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14.11.2012, 15:06
Croatia find a potential new great in Filip Ivić
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HC Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb's karate kid keeper speaks about his fledgling career
 

Croatia find a potential new great in Filip Ivić

Based on the performances in this season it seems that Filip Ivić is going to be the next great Croatian goalkeeper.

This 19 year old is one of the brightest examples of strength that Croatia has from the class of 1992.

eurohandball.com asked him what his impressions of playing handball in the VELUX EHF Champions League are, being a part of the Croatian national handball team, and still being just 19 years-old and having such a bright future. But it was not always this bright.

ehfCL.com: Can you sum up your career? What were your beginnings like?

Filip Ivić: “I trained karate for seven years. In 2003, when our national team won the World Championship in Portugal, I trained karate and handball alongside each other, and then I actually decided to quit karate and continue with handball.

“It was very hard because the training hall was far away and I had to go there immediately after the school. I am not sure that it would have worked without my grandmother and parents who were always here for me driving me from school to the training hall and back home because of course I had to study.

“I believe that karate helped me to develop my reflexes and reaction. I went through the HC Zagreb school. My first coach in the senior team was Ivica Obrvan and with him I had my first appearance in the VELUX EHF Champions League against St. Petersburg last season.”

ehfCL.com: You won a lot of international medals with your 92' age group, and now you are playing at a very high level. What do you think about young players getting on to the big stage of international handball?

Filip Ivić: “We finished in second place in the Mediterranean Games, third in the Youth Olympic Games, second in the Junior European Championship and the Junior World Championship in Bosnia Herzegovina is ahead.

“This generation has produced a lot of great young players such as Mandalinić and Kaleb that play with me in Zagreb, my goalkeeping pair and Ademar León's goalkeeper Ašanin, Ćorić, Š. Ivić, and Obranović have all come through together.

“I am very happy for all of these young players and I hope that we will be the next great Croatian generation.”

ehfCL.com: How do you deal with being the new first choice goalkeeper for Zagreb and coming into the national team?

Filip Ivić: “There is no stage-fright unlike, what people would expect. I give 100% in each game regardless of who we play against. The standard is high but the club is with me, the atmosphere in the locker room is great and I really have nothing to worry about.

“These are my first big matches and I just want to make the most of it. If the national coach Slavko Goluža chooses me to be a part of the team for the World Championship in Spain, then I will do my best every time I get the chance.

“The two matches in the EURO 2014 qualifiers meant a lot to me. It was a great experience for me to play for the national team and I hope that this is just the beginning."

ehfCL.com: Your national team goalkeeping partner is Veszprém’s Mirko Alilović, but who is your favourite goalkeeper?

Filip Ivić: “Mirko is great and it was great being in tandem with him, but I would like to highlight Mario Kelentrić, my teammate here in Zagreb who helps me a lot in each match and is a very good goalkeeper himself. Besides them, I like Thierry Omeyer’s style.”

ehfCL.com: Where do you see yourself in a few years?

Filip Ivić: “I feel very good here in Zagreb, I grew up here and now I am the first goalkeeper. I would like to stay here for now and prove to everyone how good I am in the Champions League and in the SEHA league. As I said, my club is with me, the atmosphere in the locker room is great and I do not feel like changing it now.”

“Of course every handball player would like to play for Barcelona, Kiel or in the German Bundesliga because they are the handball giants but I am happy here in Zagreb for now, when the time comes I will decide about the future. I am also going to school to learn senior management, because I would definitely like to stay in handball after my playing career has ended.”

ehfCL.com: Regarding HC Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb this season. What are your realistic expectations of this young team in the VELUX EHF Champions League and the SEHA league?

Filip Ivić: “In the Champions League, we won at home against Pick Szeged, and then were held to a draw in Minsk when Dinamo scored in the final seconds. Bad luck hit us again as we lost in Scaffhausen in the last seconds and followed that with a very hard match against one of the best teams in the world in Barcelona.

“A lot of people say that we are too young to go far. I believe that we should train a lot and play our game, and the results will come along. To be realistic, we expect to go through to the Last 16 because we will play Minsk and Schaffhausen in Zagreb and these are the matches where we should look to win.

“We will also play Füchse in Berlin in the next two rounds and we have two more hard matches in Szeged and Barcelona. We can only do our best, and as I said, I believe that the results will come along.  

“The SEHA league is very good for us because we are really young and need the tough matches that we have in the SEHA. At the moment, we are leading the league, though we should not relax, but play even harder, and of course, try to win the league.”


TEXT: Bruno Pinević / cor
 
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