Four days ago, a piece of information that Dusan Mandic is no longer in the competition for the team od Novi Beograd until further notice appeared and caused many comments.
We spoke about that with Novi Beograd’s coach Zivko Gocic and Slobodan Soro. Yesterday, they commented on the “Mandic case” at the press conference.
Dusan Mandic commented nothing in the past few days. This evening, he issued an official statement on his Instagram profile.
He started his announcement with a note that he had said nothing publicly until now because he thought this issue should be resolved internally within the club. However, he decided to address the public with an open letter since the club, as well as the management and other representatives of the club, did not want to receive his written request in which he asked for an explanation Zivko Gocic’s decision and solving the question of his status at the club, Mandic wrote.
I arrived at Novi Beograd with great desire and ambitions
Mandic pointed out:
“In June 2021, after winning the Champions League with Pro Recco, I accepted an invitation from Novi Beograd’s coach at that time and my former teammate Vladimir Vujasinović and the club’s founder Aleksandar Sapic, and came to Water Poo Club Novi Beograd. At that moment, I decided to move from the best and most elite European club with a long history to a club that was just at the beginning. In the opinion of many, it was a very brave and unusual move. I was presented with an excellent work plan, excellent training conditions, the club’s high goals…
I joined the club with great desire and ambition from the first day.Already in the first season, we encountered a problem that my teammates and I could not influence -the change of three coaches. Despite all the blows, we managed to win the title of Serbian champion, the Regional League and 2nd place in the Champions League.
I entered the 2022/2023 season with even greater motivation. The team has been guided by the fourth coach in a row, my former teammate in the national team, Zivko Gocic. I hoped, believed, and expected good cooperation (which was taken for granted considering that we have never had a single disagreement since we have known each other).
However, after the unsuccessful finish of the Regional League and losing in the semifinals, where I played sick and under therapy (which was not mentioned in the media even once), I experienced great disappointment and a great life lesson.”
Decision with no concreete reason
Explaining what happened after the Regional League Final Four, Mandic wrote:
“At the meeting held on March 27, my former teammate, Zivko Gocic, completely unexpectedly and without any indication, in front of the entire team and the rest of the professional staff, said that he had made a final, irrevocable, irreversible decision that I was no longer part of the team , that I was not allowed to train with the team and that I should contact the competent persons in the management of the club for anything that interested me. I did not get an answer to my question about the reason for this decision.
There is no concrete, real reason. At the press conference on March 30, 2023. director Slobodan Soro and coach Zivko Gocic confirm that there was never any conflict or indiscipline on my part.
There was never a single instance of non-compliance with the rules of the club on my part, I had excellent cooperation with all the previous coaches in Novi Beograd, Vladimir Vujasinovic, Dejan Jovovic and Igor Milanović, and none of them ever had a single objection to performing my role as a player and team captain”, Mandic emphpasized and added that he did everything to maintain a healthy sports atmosphere within the team in the pool and outside it.
I always do my best
Mandic added that if a team in team sports does not play at a satisfactory level, if the expected results are not achieved, the culprit for such a thing can never be one person, especially not one player of that team:
“However, we see here that the entire responsibility for the team’s bad results is assigned only and exclusively to me as an individual.
Needless to say, I always did my best, stood up and fought in the pool for both the country and the club.
From the experience of many athletes, we see that it is normal for a player not to be in great shape at all times during a long season. Ups and downs are possible, and normal. They are not a justification for removing a player from the club two months before the end of the season.
Regarding the allegations that I am not in good shape and that I have been removed from the team for that reason, I would like to remind the public of the performance of the Serbian national team at the World Cup in Podgorica, which was played a week before the end of the Regional League, as well as my performance and contribution to the team at that competition. Certainly, during the club season, the team’s fitness coach is responsible for the player’s form and physical preparation, who also never objected to my efforts in training and matches.”
Because of everything that was said in the previous days, Mandic asked the club’s director Slobodan Soro for a written statement and confirmation of his status in the club. It happened on March 29, Mandic wrote and continued:
“I did not receive the statement and confirmation. Director Soro’s explanation was that he had to talk to his superiors first.
On March 30, I received a phone call from the director Soro. I was told that the club could not give me any written explanation about my status, that the club stood by the verbal decision of coach Gocic that I was no longer part of the team, that I was not even allowed to train in a club and that they don’t want and can’t deal with me for the next two months!
Due to the fact that I have fully fulfilled my obligations to the club, without any conflict, indiscipline, or violation of the rules of the club, I am surprised and taken aback by how the club treats me.
Because of everything said to the media by director Slobodan Soro and coach Zivko Gocic, I believe that my reputation and honor as an athlete, a two-time Olympic champion, an athlete who has been a member of the national team for over 10 years and whose contributions to gold medals won by the clubs and the national teams are of great importance to many have been significantly damaged.
In addition, on the official website through which tickets are sold for the next match against Water Polo Club Partizan, my picture is placed, which misleads the public about who the spectators will be watching in the pool at that match, bearing in mind my current unclear status in the club itself and the unjustified ban on me continuing to participate in competitions as part of the Novi Beograd Water Polo Club team.”
Negative impacts on national team of Serbia
“Forbidding a long-time player, a member of the Serbian national team, from training with the team, forbidding him from coming to the swimming pool and gym with the team, forbidding him from all kinds of club competitions, I consider above all a violation of the fundamental rights of a professional athlete and a denial of my rights to perform basic work activities.
Such negative actions and actions will inevitably harm the national team of Serbia.
If necessary, I will address the public with new facts in the coming period.
Each man is the sole guardian of his own honor.
I grateful for the huge support that I constantly receive from a large number of coaches and persons involved in sports from all over the world, former teammates, fans, and domestic and foreign media. Thanks to everyone who cares about the truth.
See you at the pool again.
There is God, God sees everything.