Tomislav Ćošković, one of Croatian best national team players, after finishing his active volleyball career a few years ago in a very interesting destination, India, where he went shortly after returning from abroad to Croatia and playing for Ribola Kaštela, recently became a coach of men’s junior U20 national team.
Tomislav decided to work as a coach, since he has been touring all over Croatia for a long time now and watching all available matches in all categories, so it was somehow logical for him to start with the juniors. Especially because he is also an assistant coach in the A selection, with coach Zanini, where the juniors are slowly knocking on the door of the first team.
This will be his first action, after gathering on Sunday, December 19th in Zagreb, the team will be heading immediately to Varaždin, where they will make preparations until the Christmas holidays.
“We are in Varaždin from December 20th to 24th, then the boys have a short vacation to go to the families for the Christmas holidays, so we gather again on December 26th and go directly to Maribor,” says Ćoskovic, and continues:
“A tournament is planned in which the U20 national teams of Slovenia, Austria and Hungary and the Slovenian U18 national team will play. We will play on December 28th with the U18 national team of Slovenia, and already at 12.30 with the Hungarians. A day later, at 8.30, the Austrians are on the schedule, and at 12.30, team Slovenia. Two semifinals will be played that day, and on December 30th there will be matches for third and first place. “
Ćošković invited 17 players to Varaždin, and 12 of them will go to the tournament in Maribor. However, from the beginning of the preparations, they will not be able to immediately count on the players Cvanciger, Vlašić and Repek, who will arrive later, because, on Wednesday, December 22, Mladost will play the MEVZA league match against the Austrian Waldviertel. Also, Klasnic had some health problems, so his status will be seen in the coming days.
“I want to see how it works together. I have watched a lot of games so far and I can say that there is material, even for the A selection. We have really good generations in 2005 and 2003, so I’m not afraid for the senior national team later. In any case, this MEVZA tournament will be great for us to see our quality in relation to the immediate environment “, says Ćošković.
Many invited juniors are already participating in their clubs in senior competitions, playing in the Super League, which, according to the selector Ćošković, is a ‘double-edged blade’.
“Some of the talented junior players can participate in the Super League, but some can’t, and they all need a lot of games to develop. I think we need a stronger Super League, but also more junior competitions to develop these talented players. This is how we have a problem with gatherings because these juniors are tied to senior teams and many play in the Super League. That is why the intention is to create a junior Croatian league, following the example of the cadet league, which shows its purposefulness. That is why Antonio Surać, the selector of the cadet national team, with me at the team staff, but Nikola Sabolić will now replace him in this action“, said the new junior selector Tomislav Ćošković, from whom his team will surely have something to learn.
The following players are invited to the preparations:
setters: Tin Devald (Mladost), Lovro Maglica (Rijeka) and Ivo Mustapić (Ribola Kaštela);
opposite: Gabriel Cvanciger (Mladost) and Duje Cvijović (Ribola Kaštela);
receivers-spikers: Nikola Jureta and Ante Kulušić (Ribola Kaštela), Jakov Marković and Luka Buljat (Zadar) and Roko Vlašić (Mladost);
middle blockers: Bruno Barać (Ribola Kaštela), Ivan Kuruc (Mladost), Mislav Karačić (Mursa Osijek), Matija Klasnić (Medicinar Trnje), Lovro Koprek (Kitro Varaždin);
libero: Marko Repek and Maro Busak Vidaković (Mladost)