Borac dream of Champions League returnArticle
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FEATURE: 39 years since the club enjoyed its finest moment in European club handball, Borac m:tel are hopeful of securing a VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase berth in front of the home fans

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Borac dream of Champions League return

RK Borac m:tel is one of the biggest names in the rich history of Balkan handball. Throughout the club’s history, since its formation in 1950, Banja Luka has been associated with legendary players and the highest accolades, with the Champions Cup (forerunner of the EHF Champions League) win in 1975/76, as well as the IHF Cup triumph in 1990/91 a part of their proud history.

Nowadays, the legacy lives on. Borac are quintessential members of the SEHA league and three-time champions of Bosnia Herzegovina. Furthermore, they are on a three-season long championship and cup winning streak, having won and defended the famous double since 2012/13.

In addition to dominating the Bosnian league, Borac were crowned Yugoslavian handball league champions on seven occasions and are the competition’s second all-time most successful side (behind Bjelovar and tied with RK Metaloplastika).

However, with all the above accomplishments speaking volumes of club’s illustrious history, one success stood well above all rest – the Champions Cup win in 1975/76.

Heroes of 11 April

It was a fine spring evening on 11 April 1976, when Borac took part in their second consecutive Champions Cup final, having previously been defeated by ASK Vorwärts Frankfurt 19:17.

Goalkeeper Abaz Arslanagic saved a penalty from Soren Andersen, for Nedeljko Vujovic to bring the 5,000 fans present in “Borik” hall to raptures in a fairy tale finish.

Borac defeated the Danish side Fredericia (17:15) in front of their home fans in Banja Luka, to write their name in the history books of European handball.

The entire team of Banja Luka’s finest achieved legend-like status, as the legacy was created.

Now, 39 years after the biggest success in Bosnian handball the “red-blues” are on-course towards their return among the European elite. A new generation of Borac players dream of repeating their idols’ success some day, and a match against Alpla HC Hard is the first step.


Borac m:tel sezona 2015/16#BORACBudiITi #Banjaluka #RKBorac #Rukomet

Posted by RK Borac m:tel on Saturday, 29 August 2015

The dream lives on

However, the dream of winning the Europe’s elite competition again is still some way from happening for Borac. Nevertherless, coach Igor Radjenovic admits a place in the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League would be just as good.

“It would be an excellent achievement for Borac. It took a great deal of work from everyone associated with the club to able to be here. Our aim is set towards the Champions League,” said Radjenovic, who was a RK Borac m:tel player for three seasons before retiring to take over as coach.

One of the trademark features of Borac is club’s policy of prioritising the nurturing of home grown players and developing them for a role in the first team.

Faced with departures in key positions, Borac had to turn to their youth during the summer break, and get them ready to step up.

Balancing youth of the home-grown talent with the experience of legendary line player Ratko Nikolic is a big challenge Radjenovic is facing. However, it is a double-edged sword, which the ambitious Borac coach will look to turn into their advantage.

“We have been working very hard over the past month to prepare. Friendly tournaments have helped a lot in gaining competitive form and match fitness.

“Our team was faced with several departures on key positions, and it needs to be said that the replacements are all young and fairly inexperienced players.

“I am happy with the defensive work, but there are still issues to address in the attacking phase.

“We are yet to achieve the levels of performance many of our rivals already display. We are in a position where we must replace six or seven players each season, while doing our utmost to maintain level of performance.

“It might a few months before our team reaches desired level of consistency and cohesion, and that might be the advantage for our opponents, however, we are well on our way to doing so.

“Our advantages are our youth, determination and home court support – but it can also be a double-edged sword if we are not careful.” said Radjenovic.


Kvalifikacioni turnir za učešće u VELUX EHF Champions League, Banja Luka, 5-6. septembar 2015. godine. Napunimo Borik. Borac budi i Ti.

Posted by RK Borac m:tel on Monday, 31 August 2015

Home-grown core

With the long-serving locals like playmaker Stefan Jankovic and left wing Mirko Mikic among the key names in the current setup at RK Borac m:tel, it is then no coincidence that the core of the current generation is made of Banja Luka-born players.

Moreover a number of Banja Luka natives, including the current coach Igor Radjenovic decided to return to their boyhood club and help the team reach future glories.

The initiative is personified by the latest addition to the Borac m:tel squad, with Banja Luka-born centre back and EHF Champions League winner (Montpellier in 2003) Mladen Bojinovic making his return after 21 years away from the club, as the biggest reinforcement for the new season.

In a addition to playing on their home court, the understated advantage Borac will have as the qualification throws off, lies in home-grown players’ awareness of the importance playing in front of the home fans in “Borik” hall; while making sure everyone else understands it too, as one of the biggest challenges in club’s recent history approaches.

“We need the loud support of fully booked Borik hall to be an advantage for us, coming up against quality opponents. We hope for the home crowd support to give us extra edge in decisive moments,” concluded Radjenovic.

TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cor