“I came to Skopje to win the title”
After her arrival in Skopje, it did not take long for Dragana Cvijic to conquer the hearts of Vardar’s fans. With her arrival, the Macedonian club gained a huge asset in both offence and defence.
The 27-year-old was among Vardar’s key players in their impressive run of nine wins in Europe’s elite club competition, which came to an end in the previous round.
Cvijic speaks about her season in Skopje so far, plans for the future and her big expectations in an exclusive interview for ehfCL.com.
In the past you were not among Vardar fans’ favourite players, but shortly after your arrival you conquered their hearts. What is the main reason for this?
Dragana Cvijic: It was completely normal that Vardar fans did not like me, because in the past I played many derby matches against Vardar for Buducnost and if you play well, obviously you will not be liked by opposing fans.
When I came here I knew that the fans would like me after the first match because I always do my best when I am on the court, regardless of the jersey I am wearing.
How much has Vardar fulfilled your expectations?
Dragana Cvijic: I have to be honest that I was in doubt before I signed my contract with Vardar, since the team called me just one day before my planned signing with Bucharest. I wanted to come here because I think that this team has great conditions for progress; I learnt a lot from our coaches and I was not wrong. I am happy here, playing in front of fantastic fans and with a great team.
Vardar had an incredible record for most of the season, winning nine matches in a row. What do you think led to this superb run?
Dragana Cvijic: Some say that our groups are weaker and this is one of the reasons for the great results, but I disagree. We had plenty of good opponents and several difficult matches like those against FTC and Metz away.
For us it was also difficult to play because having in mind that the club told us the plans for the future just few days before the match with Metz and of course it was not easy at all to play when you take this issue into consideration. We were all worried about the future and although I am only here for one season, I became emotionally connected to the club.
Metz finally brought an end to your winning series last weekend. What have you taken from that result?
Dragana Cvijic: I think that this defeat is a positive thing and a very good lesson for us. At some point we had to show our weak side and maybe it is good that this happened in the match against Metz. Now we know which parts of our game we should improve. If this bad match did not happen now, it could have happened at a later stage of the competition, when we would not have the chance to improve on it.
Vardar have come close but failed to win the title over the past four seasons. Many say that Dragana Cvjic is the missing piece of the puzzle to win. What do you make of that?
Dragana Cvijic: Ah, it is nice to hear that but in my opinion you need a lot of things in order to win the title. In the first two seasons, Vardar had two or three rosters of good players and it was hard to give a chance to all of them. This year the team has great players in every position and we all work as a team. We deserve to raise the trophy in Budapest.
Your transfer, alongside many others, is aready known before the end of the season. Do you think this has impact on the players?
Dragana Cvijic: As you all know, together with Lekic and Radicevic, I recently signed for Bucharest. In our situation, I think there is no impact because we are forced to leave this club after the season ends.
In general, I do not like it, because instead of focusing on the second part of the season, players are thinking about their future. Misunderstandings can occur and can cause problems within the team.
This season is the last opportunity for Vardar’s current squad to win the Women’s EHF Champions League. Does this put much pressure on your side?
Dragana Cvijic: I consider this as an advantage. We do not have pressure to win, because no one expects from us to win. Our coaches simply want us to enjoy our performances on the court and this makes us serious contenders for the trophy.
What would you like to achieve before leaving Skopje?
Dragana Cvijic: Regardless of the teams at the FINAL4, I came in Skopje to win the Champions League and I am sure we will all give everything to achieve this goal. This would be a perfect end of the season, not just for the players but also for the fans.Author: Amina Idrizi / cor