Bojana Popović: Confidence was lost, but Milena was not expelled from the national team

When asked by "Vijesti" how Raičević reacted, when she was informed that she was not invited, the national coach unusually answered: "We have not heard from each other. Why should we discuss the decision when you are there to convey it in your own way, without first hearing my opinion"

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Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate
Photo: Boris Pejović
Photo: Boris Pejović

A day after the publication of the list, which caused a lot of controversy, Bojana Popović started preparations for the World Championship with Montenegrin handball players.

Before the start of the first training session, the coach answered the key question - why didn't she call the captain Milena Raičević?

"I am a selector, someone who compiles a list thinking about what is and how is best for the national team and what I plan to do. On the list are the girls I trust the most. Trust is the first and basic thing that guides me when it comes to the field and cooperation. I have nothing against Milena, but my decision is clean, professional, and I think that the other girls can answer my tasks much better at the moment," Popović said.

Bojana Popović
photo: Boris Pejović

Milena Raičević was sent to the branch, Rudar, by the Buducnost Bemax Board of Directors, on whose bench the 44-year-old Nišljana sits, because she sued the club for unpaid wages. This has been carried over to the national team as well, although it should not and should not be related.

"Confidence has definitely been lost in the last month, through all that has been going on. Milena gave a lot to the national team, no one denies that. No one is saying that she was kicked out of the national team. It happened that there were no world-class players on the list, like Benzema and Teodosić, so it survived. Only at this moment did I see that cooperation was impossible, due to the mistrust that had arisen. It is better to be honest and say it in time, than to get into a situation where this cooperation is not established at the World Cup. There is nothing else, that's how it is at the moment. That's my responsibility", emphasized the coach.

When asked by "Vijesti" how Raičević reacted, when she was informed that she was not invited, she gave an unusual answer:

"We haven't heard from each other. Why should we discuss the decision when you are there to convey it your way, without first hearing my opinion. You write what you write, it's up to me to do my job and be responsible like last year, when we won bronze".

Bojana Popović
photo: Boris Pejović

This was not the end of the monologue.

"We shouldn't talk about anything in advance, coaching is like that. I don't see any problem at all in making such a fuss. And in 2016, two players were not in the squad, then it was said that the squad was being rejuvenated. Those two returned the following year and were six more in the national team and no one ever mentioned a single sentence. I, as a selector, at this moment have more faith in these girls who are here and I think that they should receive all your attention and support, because this is a young team, the future of Montenegro, which will fight in this championship and in the future, was me here or not".

Popović emphasized that communication between her and yesterday's captain would be impossible.

"All this hype is inflated, I know from whom and how it goes. I don't understand it that much. I love Milena, I have worked with her all these years, I have nothing against her. She will continue to train, to work in some direction of her own, but after everything that happened, I have no confidence. That's the only reason, communication would be impossible because of everything that happened".

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