Saša Mišić, current team captain of the Hungarian Miskolc, plays for Montenegro’s National Team, won Silver during the European Championships 2016 in Belgrade and packs a lot of international experience from playing in Montenegro, Greece, Hungary and Russia. The center forward talked to Total Waterpolo about the status quo in Montenegro’s National Team as well as their aims and expectations for the world championships in Budapest.
What’s the current situation in Montenegro’s National Team considering that some younger players have joined the roster?
It is a known fact, that it has come to a “change of generations” if you may…World class players like the Janović brothers, Jokić, Petrović and Pasković have left the team, while Ivović is on Malta and Klikovac is recovering from an injury. These are all top tier players, who have proven their qualities through many years and are very difficult to replace – we are practically entering with a brand-new roster. We have promising youngster though, who have joined the team and are on their way to becoming world class players.
Although we wouldn’t go as far as to promise a medal, as Montenegro we are obligated to aim for the highest goals. We are not going to enter a single match with a raised white flag. On the contrary, we play to win against any opponent, ready to give it our all – Budapest will show us how far we can go with that at this moment in time.
You prepared in Greece, Spain and on Korčula in Croatia – is there a segment of your game you are still not happy with and need to improve during your final days of preparation in Montenegro?
The circumstances in all training camps were excellent for quality work and advancement. I believe our coaching staff is very happy with what has been done to date. There is a lot of sparring matches, because this young and fresh roster needs time to attune and I believe with each new training match we grow as a team.
We are left with sparring matches against Amerika, Kazakhstan and Japan in Herceg Novi, which will serve as our final benchmark for the world championships. While there are of course some mistakes left, there is still plenty of time to fix them. I am sure that we will be 100% ready for the world championships in Budapest, both physically and mentally. I believe in this team and have no doubt, that we will represent our country in an honorable way.
You will face Brazil, Kazakhstan and Canada in the group stage – what are your expectations?
You can say that we got quite lucky with the group draft. Without wanting to underestimate anybody, anything but the first place in our group would be a disappointment.
Two weeks ago in Greece you placed second in a tournament, that may have been on a higher level than even the World League Finals – How far can you go considering your current form and the other groups?
As I said before, Montenegro always has the obligation to aim for the highest placements, no matter the line-up that’s playing. Our situation may have changed slightly compared to the last few years, where anything but a medal would have been a failure. We are not visiting Budapest as tourists though, we want to match up to anybody. In the end, we will see where we are currently standing compared to the world’s finest waterpolo.
Who do you think will grab the medals in the world championships and can you see the Hungarian hosts put an end to the Serbian domination of the global waterpolo stage?
I believe that in regard to the game Serbia is still the strongest team by far and that it will be very difficult to stop them at this world championship, too. Hungary is also a medal frontrunner with their dangerous team, especially now in front of their home crowd. I have had the honor of playing in Hungary for an extended period of time now, so I know how much they love our sport and that this great crowd’s support will serve as tailwind to the undeniable quality that they already bring to the pool. For the bronze medal, you will have to look among Croatia, Italy and ourselves…But also consider the US-Team, that has shown that it is quite capable in the recent World League.
Overall, an interesting tournament is awaiting us with many teams aiming for medals in the end. I strongly believe in us and, with a little good sports fortune, hope to reach a place on the podium.
Montenegro is a major player on the global waterpolo scene. With their strong passion for and vast knowledge about waterpolo they pose a great threat to any opponent that must face them. We thank Saša and wish them all the best on Margitsziget island.
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