Meshkov Brest is one of the teams in the SEHA - Gazprom League, which has goalkeepers with the greatest experience, part of their national teams, and the player between bars are sometimes the decisive factor in the matches. Ivan Pesic came to Belarus, became an important part of the team and decided to stay there hoping that with the team from Brest he could achieve good results.
This season Meshkov again managed to qualify for the F4 tournament in the SEHA League, among the Top-16 in the EHF Champions League, and in the domestic championship they are also candidates for the title defense.
Ivan Pesic is one of many international players who played in the team, but the club is already starting to promote young players. For the first time he is so far from his native Croatia, and he misses the Adriatic sea and Croatian food a lot.
In 10 games in the SEHA - Gazprom League, Pesic has a percentage of 35,7 and average 8,7 saves in each game.
Many people expected that Meshkov will lose the home game versus Gorenje. It was crucial for the club to stay on the fourth position in the table. This season Meshkov, on some games, looked like they missed chances to win some important points.
Against Gorenje we played without our best players and this game was not so important for us. Yes, we try to win and have interesting last moments in some games, but miss the opportunity. I do not think that we have been playing poorly because we did qualify for the SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 tournament and for the eight-finals in the EHF Champions League. And perhaps the fact that we lost some gamess, the reason is our obligations in the Belarusian championship. We already had 57 matches this season. The team is good, but we had a couple of injuries.
Every year, Meshkov is so close, and yet so far from the trophy of the SEHA - Gazprom League. Club really wants to have that title!
Our goal in the SEHA - Gazprom League is to qualify for the F4, and we managed it. Of course, we want a trophy and will win one day, I hope.
You play on three fronts, SEHA - Gazprom League, EHF Champions League and Belarusian championship. This requires extra energy, especially now at the end of the season when you need to be the best?
It is very difficult to play in three strong championships, and Brest is far away from everything and we are practically on the road all the time. We are a little tired, but we go further and it is important that our health serves us
Which league of these is most difficult for you to play?
For me the toughest league is Belarusian. I thought it was difficult to play because of long trips. Also there are a lot teams below our ranks and also a very good young team SKA Minsk. The most difficult is EHF Champions League, but Belarusian is difficult in another way.
In the EHF Champions League Meshkov played in a very strong group and won a place in Top-16. Was that the goal of the club and could it be further, maybe in quarterfinal?
Our goal was the Top-16 and we did it. Now I think we have good chances for the quarter-final.
You are the only club that managed to win a point against Vardar this season in the SEHA - Gazprom League. Now you will play again in the semi-final of the F4 tournament. Can Vardar be defeated?
With Vardar we play pretty well almost always. Vardar is the top club that plays the most beautiful handball, but with them we can handle it, and in those matches goalkeepers are key factors.
You recently extended a contract with Meshkov, despite also having offers from other clubs.
I believe in Meshkov as a team and I feel good here. The conditions were good so I did not want to change clubs.
This season the club promoted a lot of young players who got their minutes in different games. How popular is handball in Belarus?
Meshkov Brest is growing every year as a club and also in a marketing sense. We played with PSG and the hall was full and people were still looking for tickets. Not even close to the popularity of handball in Croatia but it's progressing.
What are you missing the most while you are in Belarus?
I mostly miss the sea, I live at the seaside and also Croatian food.