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13/05/2019 17:00
Montenegro vie for double gold at GSSE on home soil
News from the National Federations

Podgorica, Montenegro, May 13, 2019. The gold medal is the main goal shared by the men’s and women’s national teams of Montenegro at the upcoming Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE), which will be taking place in Budva from May 27 to June 1. The respective head coaches Nikola Masonicic and Veljko Basic, as well as captain Tatjana Bokan and player Ivan Ječmenica shared their expectations in a press conference ahead of the historic event hosted by the Balkan country for the first time.

It is still unclear whether and to which extent Bokan will be able to help her teammates, because she will spend the coming week nursing some injuries. “I have joined the team, but I am not sure whether I can play or not.  I honestly think that we should not have problems, regardless whether I will play or not.  I think my teammates are ready and I can promise that we will bring gold to Montenegro.  When we played against these opponents four years ago in Iceland, we did so without any problems and without losing a set, thus winning the gold medal. Meanwhile, our team has made a lot of progress, the truth is that there are a lot of young girls who have joined, but I think we have quality and we deserve the role of favourite,” Bokan said.

The women’s national team will play against Liechtenstein (May 28), Cyprus (May 29), San Marino (May 30), Luxembourg (May 31) and Iceland (June 1), with all of Montenegro’s matches starting at 11 am. “If the captain is such an optimist, I do not see why we should not be the same,” said head coach Masonicic. “Tanja’s injuries have disturbed us a little bit, but I sincerely hope that she will be ready for the start of the tournament.  From the conversations I have had with the players, I know that they are ready to give their maximum, first during the preparations, and then at the tournament. This is a nice opportunity for women’s Volleyball to win the gold medal, and I think that we deserve it in terms of our quality,” he continued.

At the Games of the Small States of Europe, the men’s national team will not perform in their strongest line-up, since captain Vojin Ćaćić, Miloš Ćulafić, Luka Šuljagić, Marko Vukašinović, and Balsa Radunović will all be missing. The ambitions, however, are the same - the gold medal!

“We are not complete, but I think there will be no problems for us. We are the absolute favourites and I think that we will justify this role and we will win the gold medal. This is also an opportunity for some younger players to prove themselves and to seize their chance. They will have a big motivation, because preparations for the European Championship will follow suit, so we can see who can be in the team in the future,” said Ivan Ječmenica.

Montenegro will be playing Iceland (May 28, 16:00), Luxembourg (May 29, 20:00), Cyprus (May 30, 18:00), San Marino (May 31, 18:00) and Monaco (June 1, 18:00).

“This is the beginning of our season, and these matches are also a preparation for the European Championship.  I will use this period to give a chance to some younger players that I saw a month ago, when I went to visit some clubs. Some players could not come because of injuries, such as Ćacic or Ćulafić, but the principle is to prepare the team of Montenegro for the future and as a result, I introduce young players into the first team. I think it is good that we have a bigger selection of players, because we know that preparations for the European Championship will be long.  It is important for young players to feel the atmosphere of the first team.  Of course, I expect the gold medal from the Games of the Small States. I think we have the capacity and the ability to achieve this,” said the head coach of the men’s national team, Veljko Bašić.


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