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19.10.2016, 15:09◄ last page     

NEWS: Ex-Lokomotiva coach takes over the Croatian champions ahead of their VELUX EHF Champions League Group B MOTW clash with Vardar

Silvio Ivandija takes over PPD Zagreb

PPD Zagreb did not have to wait long for a new coach. The club management said they will have a name in about two weeks but just two days after Veselin Vujovic left by mutual agreement, Zagreb will present their new coach, Silvio Ivandija, this Thursday.

Ivandija was present at the SEHA League match Zagreb played against Tatran Presov on Tuesday. He was sitting together with club director Ante Ancic, member of executive board Zoran Gobac and former coach Veselin Vujovic. Already at that moment it was obvious that Ivandija will sit in Zagreb’s hot seat and be in charge of PPD Zagreb.

His first match as PPD Zagreb coach will be the VELUX EHF Champions League MOTW tie against Vardar. Vladimir Jelcic, Olympic gold medallist from Atlanta 1996 will be his assistant coach. Today (Wednesday 19 October) they will meet the team and have their first training.

Solid experience to count on

Up until yesterday Silvio Ivandija was the coach of HC Lokomotiva Zagreb, the Croatian runners-up and Women’s EHF Champions League participant in 2014/15. With a very young team Ivandija managed to take silver in the Croatian championship behind Podravka Vegeta and bronze in the Croatian cup.

Lokomotiva confirmed that he is leaving club on their official Facebook page. He is also coach of women’s junior national team.

However, he is not new in men’s handball. His biggest achievements as a coach come from men’s handball. Ivandija used to coach men’s youth national teams. In 2012 he won gold at M18 EHF EURO in Montenegro 2012 with Sebetic and Mandalinic in the squad.

Two years later took silver in Turkey with same team at M20 EHF EURO 2012 (with Susnja and Mandalinic in squad). With a further youth team at the Men’s Junior World Championship in Hungary 2013 he took another silver medal (with Jotic in squad).

What is interesting is that Ivandija was already a coach in Zagreb: In 2005 he replaced Bruno Gudelj as head coach but after Lino Cervar took over he was his assistant coach. Assistant wise, he was also in Slavko Goluza’s senior national team.

In his career he also coached Osijek, Medvescak, Trieste, Izvidac Ljubuski, Karlovac, Medugorje, Varazdin, El Jaish, Tresnjevka (women’s club) and a Qatar youth national team.

Tall task ahead

The 52-year-old Ivandija will have tough job in Zagreb where expectations are always high. Zagreb are not in a good place now with zero points from four VELUX EHF Champions League matches and instable form in the SEHA League. However, he has proven to be great with youth and junior teams.

Looking at Zagreb’s current squad that might be an advantage. In 2005 when he was in Zagreb he also coached Igor Vori so he is familiar with most of the Croatian players in the Zagreb squad.

What is going to be crucial is how fast he can adopt to a new team, a new playing system and the high expectations. Ivandija is in a way similar to Vujovic because he prefers strong defence which used to be Zagreb’s strongest feature under Vujovic.

It is not going to be easy for Silvio Ivandija to put Zagreb on the map again but he said to Sportske Novosti: “As far as I’m concerned, I have dreamt for a long time about this opportunity, I’m honored Zagreb invited me to take over. I’m not afraid of challenges and I’m aware that the schedule is tough and that certain things need to be improved on.”

TEXT: Jelena Bagarić / bc

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