7M - Dejan Babic: “SEHA - Gazprom League is very important for young players“

Dejan Babic

SEHA Gazprom League is ready for another unforgettable year. One of the most interesting clashes of the first round of 2020 SEHA Play Off will definitely be the Serbian one between Vojvodina and Metaloplastika.

Metaloplastika’s 25-year old line-player Dejan Babic shared with us his thoughts on the League in general as well as Serbian Play Off derby against their rivals from northern Serbia in our new 7M interview. 

How would you rate your team’s form before two knock-out matches against Vojvodina?
I feel like it’s a good thing we’re playing the 2020 opener at home, in front of our fans. We definitely have more self-confidence playing in front of them. Vojvodina are without doubt favored side in this one - after everything we’ve seen in the first part of the season for me to say anything else but that would simply be unrealistic. We are not feeling pressure and, as we all know, the only thing that matters is what you do when you’re out there on the court so we’ll see what happens on Sunday.  

Vojvodina managed to come out on top easily in All Serbian Cup semi-final about a month ago. 
It really was an easy win for them. We had some chances to make the match more interesting but we simply failed to use them which is why it ended up being a routine win for them. We have to play much better than we did in that match. 

How important is home court in this kind of competition?
Our fans sometimes put pressure on our shoulders and sometimes they are wind in our backs. Fans in Sabac know handball very well, they’ve been watching top-class handball for decades. Atmosphere in our Zorka sports hall is much better than in Slana bara in Novi Sad. We have to do our best to take advantage of that – forget about the pressure and focus on delivering best possible performance. 

Season we’re going through has been quite specific for all those teams that haven’t managed to secure a place for themselves in European competitions. How do you manage to stay in form?
It is specific but we didn’t actually think about it a lot in the first part of the season. Now we’re thinking about that a little bit because we might not have any official, competitive matches all the way until the start of Serbian Play Off. We are a bit afraid of it. For now it has been fine as we were playing every about ten days and against high quality opponents who are always easy to find motivation to compete against. I feel like we won’t be able to draw final conclusions and form opinion until the very end of the season. 

How do you see SEHA Gazprom League project?
It is remarkable. Very important for young players. Definitely a useful addition for Serbian teams that don’t really have many tough, narrow matches throughout the season. Incredible experience overall, to see where you stand against such quality opponents and hopefully raise self-confidence levels with solid outings. For this Metaloplastika’s generation it really has been a positive journey. 

The best experience so far?
Away match in Veszprem, no doubt. It was a dream come true to see their famous hall, their ‘roof of fame’, hear fans and play against a legendary team. Something special for all of us. We were a bit confused in the beginning because of all of that. 

Serbian Play-Offs are ahead of you with six best teams.
Goal is to be at least second and, of course, try to take the title against Vojvodina. Anything else could be considered as a failure. Zeleznicar are much better now, Novi Pazar as well, Dinamo are very competitive but I feel like finishing second is their limit. Only team I see as the one that can potentially endanger Vojvodina is Metaloplastika. 

What are your thoughts about your career so far?
This is by far the best organized team I’ve ever been a part of. I grew up as a player in Crvena Zvezda but I feel like I’ve become a professional here in Sabac. We are happy here – you can live from playing handball but of course younger players are eager to try themselves abroad. I would also like to test myself but only in case I get a good offer.