For the upcoming 2015 World Championship Play-off games against Belarus, new Montenegro coach Ljubomir Obradovic will have an unexpected reinforcement in the form of Fahrudin Melić.
The PSG right wing returns to play for Montenegro after deciding to retire from the national team due to family reasons in May 2013.
After the 2013 World Championship in Spain, Melic was contemplating leaving the team, but he decided to postpone that decision and play four of the six EHF EURO 2014 qualification games, the final one against Israel in April 2013. He missed the final tournament in Denmark, where Montenegro finished 16th.
“I'm coming back and I'm happy. I've heard a lot of good things about the preparations in the national team week. Also, I've heard very good things about the new coach.
“When I left the national team, I did it, and only because of my family. I've been away too long and my kids were small. Now it’s easier, the children are older and understand some things. I am back to help Montenegro team to reach another great event,” said Melic.
Melic believes that Montenegro have the quality to eliminate Belarus and get a place at their third consecutive major competition.
“In the past we eliminated stronger and better teams than Belarus. They are a very good team, but also the team with which we can play against. I am optimistic,” Melic added, explaining he will play EHF EURO 2016 qualification if he is healthy and 100% ready, just like he always did.
Stanic set to face native land
In the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Montenegro will face Serbia (as well as Iceland and Israel) for the first time since the two former Yugoslavian states went their separate ways in May 2006.
The new Montenegro coach is Serbian Ljubomir Obrdovic, while Serbia have three Montenegrin-born players, goalkeeper Darko Stanic, left wing Ivan Nikcevic and line player Mijajlo Marsenic.
"It had to happen sometime that Serbia and Montenegro would play against each other. Montenegro is a good team, they played two major championships in a row, and although they didn’t have any significant result, frankly neither did we.
“In some matches we were our own worst enemies, but I sincerely hope that it will be not the case in the games with Montenegro, which will very important for us to qualify for the next EURO.
“Montenegro now has quite a young team, and we are very strong in all positions, but I know from experience that in such matches anything in advance can’t be predicted. Much better teams than us have been defeated in Montenegro. But, Serbia simply must get to the EURO,” said Stanic, who went on to explain why he decided to play for Serbia.
“I think that everyone knows that. Leaders of the Serbia Handball Federation and head coach at the time Jovica Cvetkovic helped me a lot in a time when everyone had given up on me. I made a big mistake in my life, which I don’t hide (from 2006 to 2008 he served a drug suspension).
“I wanted to get back on track, but then no one wanted to hear about me. I even worked as a waiter in Belgrade, and I'm not ashamed about it, it was the hardest period of my life. At that time no one from Montenegro called me.
“Only when I agreed to play for Serbia, I got a call from Montenegro. That call was frivolous and not concrete,” added Stanic.
The Metalurg goalkeeper, who began his career at home club Mojkovac, and played for other Montenegrin teams Berane and Lovcen, said he will only think about handball and give his best in the games against Montenegro.
“Probably the people in Montenegro are dissatisfied about me choosing Serbia. I believe that the vast majority of them who criticise me would have done the same had they been in my place,” concluded Stanic.