Second part of SEHA league started with 6 world bronze medals: Belarussians have catched connection with the top

Brest Meshkov - Borac 6.10.2012.

With the match between Meškov and Metalurg and with win of Belarussians 28:26, second part of SEHA league started. It was one of three remaining matches that clubs will play until 19 of February to complete 12 rounds planned for the first half of the season. Then it will be six more rounds left, and after that, we will get foursome that will play for second SEHA League title. Defending champion  is Vardar from Skopje, and they will probablly host the finals this season.

Problems are not lacking, financial crisis grippes, clubs, particularly from BiH are in big problems, and the league is going its own way and is on the right track to be stronger than ever next year. Sponsors could bring some new, strong members. But about that some other time...

WC divided season into two parts. SEHA League has gotten six bronze medals that have won Zagreb players for Croatia. Montenegrians WC was bad, the Macedonians were expecting a litlle more, and for Belarus in addition to success it was another load they were not accustomed to in the last seasons. But lets start with the champions...

VARDAR had probably least problems in transfer period. They are relieved of Europe, because they didnt qualify for any of the groups in EHF Cup, and Veselin Vujovic is experienced enough to turn that into freshness and argument to defend their title. Defence is strengthen with the arrival of the Serbian international Dragaš and they will be tricky to everyone in the finals.

CO Zagreb is leader,  and they continue in the same composition. Problems with injury of David Špiler due to he missed WC are behind them, young Luka Šebetić is also returning after the shoulder surgery. Zagreb is trying to catch final 16 of CL, and SEHA League Final Four. Realistic. They expect more improvement from bronze medal winners from WC Ivić, Mandalinić, Stepančić, Šprem, Marić but also from other youngsters in which the investment has already paid off. Strong league is responsible for that, without any doubt.

METALURG had slightly rough WC period. Not very happy and healthy from WC have returned Stanić, Rakčević, Mojsovski, Mirkulovski, Jonovski... So Lino Červar had hard job before the second part of the season which brings expectations in both CL and SEHA League. Being second in CL group,  for Metalurg is just as important as qualifying for Final Four of SEHA. It will be interesting to see how will they cope with such high expectations.

NEXE was a pleasant surprise of the first part of the season, has a good schedule  to the end, but there are also problems with finances, so at the beginning of the season Velić left club, Markotić left in the middle of the season, after him Mataija returnd to Poreč, and at the end of the season Slišković will go to Celje. Bigger concern to them is how long will all that last in new circumstances than how will it look in six rounds that follows. The team is good, plays well, they won tournament in Belgrade where they beat Vardar and Partizan but it would be surprise to reach Final Four.  After all, they are the only real competitor to the favorites.

MEŠKOV is getting better, getting stronger. Load of WC in Belarusian squad had goalkeeper Čerapenka and Šumak , rest little (three more in Belarusian squad), so they are rested, ready and they shown it with win over Metalurg at the start of the second part of the season. This team is certainly big candidate not only for Final Four, but also for the title.

BiH teams are in big problems. Izviđač has lost six players, key players Malinović, and Burić brothers are gone. They are relying on well known Akademija and trying to affirm new players with Vidovića, Zeljića, Grbavca... On the bench Ilija Puljević is replaced by Mladen Škorput. Borac wanted to strengthen, but obviously could not, so they have to rely on same team without Mandic, who is in Metalurg, to win few points. Sloga, current champions of BiH are in even greater trouble, before New Year they had serious strike. Everything reveals around money, and in strong league future is questionable-to everyone.

LOVĆEN is on similar track. Performance at WC has not brought them any good, 23. place of Montenegro in Spain has not helped Marković, Vujović, Grbović. It is questionable how will they continue this year, and after that…

TATRAN from Presov changed coaches. After a long time George Rasic was replaced by Roman Lamač. Jan Sobol went to Poland, at the last minute Tomaz Urban, who was in Hungary, was brought back. Strong Hungady, who was in Bundesliga, also returned, so alongside Nexe they will be strong candidates to jeopardize Zagreb, Metalurg, Vardar and Nexe on the road to Final Four. But Presov has a mitigating circumstance, thy qualified for the EHF Cup and the season, regardless of the outcome of the SEHA League, have meet the expectations.

The first part of the season has done much better than last year, now it needs to be continued and conclude with the Final Four. Very good tournament, at the Euro-level, no doubt.