|18.02.2017, 13:40||◄ last page|
NEWS REPORT: Power shift at the Balkans as Dragana Cvijic is playing her farewell season at Buducnost, after agreeing to become Vardar's first reinforcement for 2017/18.
Buducnost's Cvijic agrees move to Vardar
The Vardar vs Buducnost rivalry is bound to continue. The Podgorica-based club enter a new stage with new intake of young players while the vast majority of names who won the Women's EHF Champions League in 2012 are not with the Montenegrin club anymore.
Meanwhile, it is Vardar who will take the baton as the leading force in this part of Europe. Their star-laden squad will be further strengthened by big-name signing for the upcoming season.
The start of the 2017/18 season will see the Serbian line player Dragana Cvijic continue her career in Skopje after six years in Podgorica. Her contract with Buducnost was bound to run out in the summer.
Real statement of intent from Vardar
Signing Cvijic is a real statement of intent from the Champions League favourites Vardar. One of the key players during Buducnost's dominance, Cvijic will bring the much-desired end-to-end presence on the line. The Macedonian powerhouse were unable to fill this gap ever since another Serbian-born, Ana Djokic, retired in 2014.
The ambitious 26-year-old Cvijic, who missed the first part of the current season due to a knee injury, will undoubtedly bring more incentive to Vardar, especially considering her winning mentality, underlined by the pair of Champions League titles in 2012 and 2015.
The short distance (a mere 187 kilometres by air) and the absence of a language barrier will make her transition from Podgorica to Skopje smooth.
Among the familiar faces at her new club will be fellow Serbians Andrea Lekic and Sanja Damnjanovic, with whom Cvijic has come through the youth ranks of the Serbian national team as well as the domestic league, and graced the colours of Krim in 2009.
The trio has a triumphant past, winning the World Championship 2013 silver medal with Serbia while Cvijic became the best line player of the tournament.
Tactically, with Cvijic in his team, coach David Davis can solidify his defence and gain more consistency, physicality and variety in attack.
Cvijic is able to contribute in a number of ways defensively, both guarding the line player and protecting the zone from backcourt peril. That matches well with the intuitive, dynamic defence employed by the Spaniard this season.
Cvijic has scored 224 goals in the Champions League as her career took the Belgrade-born from Crvena Zvezda to Krim and onto stardom and widespread recognition over her six-year tenure at Buducnost.
Highest ambitions in the Champions League
Cvijic will be relishing a chance to reach the pinnacle of her career at Vardar who have the highest ambitions in the Champions League.
"Vardar started creating the team for the following seasons, and the recruitment of Dragana Cvijic is part of our club's intention to reinforce every position," Vardar executive director Davor Stojanovski said.
"I believe that with the arrival of Cvijic, our team will be more competitive and ready for higher goals. Vardar always tend to have the best possible players in the team, which will contribute to achieving our goal – the European top."
TEXT: Nemanja Savic / ew