Vardar ready to take on EuropeArticle
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New backing for Macedonian club heading into Europe's elite competition

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

Vardar ready to take on Europe

Vardar Skopje have got a new sporting director. Sergej Samsonenko will take a leading role in both men’s and women’s teams as they try to achieve success on a European level.

Samsonenko is likely to have a large say in how both teams are run and will be responsible for the club’s finance.

“Sergej Samsonenko is the biggest reinforcement for Vardar next season. From today, we create a powerful Vardar,” said outgoing club president Mihajlo Mihailovski.

Negotiations began between Mihajlovski and Samsonenko shortly after Vardar secured their eighth domestic title by beating Metalurg in the last round of the domestic championship.

Mihajlovski has been the president and main sponsor of the club since 1983. During his time at the club, Vardar won the Macedonian championship eight times and the national cup eight times.

Internationally, the club has reached the semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup on three occasions, won the SEHA league in 2012 and were recently defeated in last season's final.

The biggest dilemma

Next season Vardar will continue to play in SRC Kale, some SEHA league matches will be moved to "Boris Trajkovski", as will all VELUX EHF Champions League fixtures.

The club plans to move into new hall, which is currently under construction. The 5,000 capacity arena will host both men’s and women’s teams.

The biggest dilemma now is who will be the new coach in Vardar. After a one-year ban for Veselin Vujović after the final league game, a new coach is needed for the upcoming season.

“I had a list of 12 names of potential coaches. Now it has been reduced to just three names. By the end of the month, we will announce who would lead the team,” said Samsonenko.

Repeat the success of their arch-rivals

The priority of the new club sponsor will be to repeat the success of Metalurg in the VELUX EHF Champions League, where their domestic rivals reached the quarter-finals.

“We expect a little more success, but since we won the title we can say that the season is a success,” says Mihailovski.

From the current squad only Vukasin Rajković, Vuk Lazović and Nikola Markoski will be leaving the club.

Vladimir Petrić will stay, and the club were able to extend the contracts with several key players, such as Strahinja Milić, Igor Karačić, Nemanja Pribak, Dobrivoje Marković, Filip Lazarov and Stojanče Stoilov.

With the core of their squad intact and new impetus at the club, much is expected of Vardar in Europe next season.

TEXT: Goran Antevski / cor