On the eve of the VELUX EHF Champions League’s opening group phase matches, all 28 participating clubs have submitted their their squads.
HC PPD Zagreb, Telekom Veszprém, PGE Vive Kielce and Orlen Wisla Plock added new names to their squad list just before the late entry deadline for registration of players.
While Veszprém and Kielce added two young and talented goalkeepers to their list, Zagreb and Plock added big name players to their back court just in time for throw-off.
Zarko Markovic (QAT) – Al Jaish (QAT) to HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
After David Miklavcic injured his shoulder and was forced to undergo surgery, the Croatian champions were only left with one right back, newcomer Mario Vuglac. With Miklavcic sidelined for at least six months, Zagreb’s management needed to find someone to replace him.
Step up, Zarko Markovic, the Montenegrin-born Qatari international, who has spent last three years playing for Al Jaish in Qatar.
Before leaving Europe, 31-year-old Markovic enjoyed spells with Veszprém (HUN), Metalurg (MKD), Frisch Auf Göppingen and Hamburg (GER).
With Qatar, he won the silver medal at the IHF World Championship on home court in 2015, where he was also second highest scorer of the tournament with 67 goals.
His contract with Zagreb is valid until the end of 2017, but despite its short-term nature, the capture of Markovic is a serious reinforcement for this young Zagreb team.
Aleksandar Djurdjevic (SRB) – Veszprem (HUN)
The 20-year-old Serbian goalkeeper was already a Veszprém player last year, but has made the step up to the VELUX EHF Champions League squad for the first time.
Born in Kraljevo where he started his career in Serbia’s 3rd division, he was spotted by a Veszprém coach during a goalkeeper camp in Makarska, Croatia.
Djurdjevic was also a member of the Serbian Under 20 national team at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO in Denmark last year. He will serve as a backup for the formidable goalkeeping duo of Roland Mikler and Mirko Alilovic.
Milosz Walach (POL) – PGE Vive Kielce
This incredibly young goalkeeper already left mark in Polish handball as the youngest player ever to play in the PGNiG Super Liga.
At the tender age of 15, Walach made his debut for Kielce against Zaglebie Lubin on Tuesday and Talant Dujshebaev decided to give him a chance in Europe’s elite club competition as well.
The Polish youth international turns 16 in November and will be patiently waiting for a chance to shine at this level for the 2016 champions.
Nemanja Obradovic (SRB) – Metalurg (MKD) to Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Talented 26-year-old centre back Nemanja Obradovic made a move from Skopje to Poland, where he will join Orlen Wisla Plock.
The Serb was a key player in Lino Cervar’s team last season, where he played alongside Filip Taleski, scoring 58 goals in Group C.
However, Obradovic has left for the Polish runners-up, with whom he signed two-year contract with the possibility of a one-year extension.
The versatile back player has so far played for three clubs in Serbia (Napredak, Jagodina and Metaloplastika), Valence Handball in France and most recently Metalurg.
The next chance for VELUX EHF Champions League clubs to register new players is Tuesday, 31 October 2017, but until then we have five rounds of action to look forward to, beginning on Thursday 14 September.Author: Jelena Bagaric / cor