Legend says that in Crvenka, kids are playing handball instead of football out there on the streets from a very young age. And if you take into consideration how many great players were raised in their famous handball school, in a city of only about 10,000 people, you realize that’s not far from the truth. One of Crvenka’s kids who is out there right now is Aleksa Kljajic – right wing for Metaloplastika. Semi-finalists of the 1970 Champions Cup will forever have their names written in the history books as the team which allowed legendary Barcelona only 12 goals (26:12) at home.
23-year-old wing who is currently playing for Metaloplastika already has quite a CV having played for Crvena zvezda and Zeleznicar Nis in the past.
Four teams with great history. Sabac is not that different from Crvenka, it is also a handball city with people talking about the match all the time, recognizing you in the streets and following all the news and activities connected to the club on a daily basis. It is always demanding to play and compete in such an atmosphere but it is also a privilege, it feels special. I like the fact that handball has been such a big part of the culture of the city wherever I’ve been so far.
Two wins and a few more great outings so far for Metaloplastika this season. What do you think about SEHA League this season?
We can be satisfied with the performances we’ve delivered so far. We managed to win two home matches and displayed solid outings against PPD Zagreb and Telekom Veszprem. So far everything is going according to plans. We are a young team eager to prove ourselves every time we step out there and we see every match as a great chance for us to do that. We are working hard and club has a clear goal to provide youngsters with a chance to develop and shine. We were even close to winning the match in Moscow but it didn’t hurt too much because our main goal is to raise the form before domestic Play-Off matches.
What do you think about SEHA League as a project comparing this season to the last one when you played in Nis?
SEHA people are giving their best to promote the League and handball in general in the best possible light. There are a lot of projects, ways to attract fans and engage players in order to share the positive atmosphere and that’s why I like it.
This League brought first international experience for you as a young player. What impressed you the most?
The dream has always been to play against the best and SEHA gives you exactly that opportunity. Vardar were always special to play against, compete against the guys like Skube and Milosavljev. We’ll see who will go all the way this season but playing in arenas like the ones in Veszprem or Skopje is honestly something special and crucial in development for all of us here in Metaloplastika.
How far is Metaloplastika from winning the domestic trophies?
It’s still early to talk about this. We’re following everything regarding domestic Super Liga and what I can say is that Vojvodina are definitely favorites to go all the way. However, we do not fear anyone.
You had and are still having an opportunity to work with some of the handball legends – Veselin Vujovic and Veselin Vukovic. Are there any similarities or differences?
It’s a real honor to work with them. They have similar character, same sense of humor which is not that surprising considering they grew up together and are big friends. They also like the same handball style with strong defense, allowing as minimum goals as possible and just playing and training hard overall.
Crvenka produces a lot of talented left-handed players in a matter of ten years only. What is it you guys are doing over there, what’s the secret?
Well yeah, Strahinja Stankovic is in Vojvodina, Aleksandar Gugleta is playing in EHF Champions League with Finnish side Cocks, Mitar Markez won everything with French Montpellier, played for German Göppingen and is now in Hungary. Vuk Perovic is in Spain, deceased Novak Boskovic was also here. I mean, the legend says we’re playing handball out there in the streets of Crvenka and luckily, there is always someone ready to prolong the tradition of the ‘Squirrels’ from Crvenka.