The team of Montenegro was the runner-up at the last edition of the OG in London, at their first ever participation at the biggest event of the world. After London, Bojana Popovic has retired and the team of Dragan Adzic managed to win the EURO 2012, crowning a very successful year of the Montenegrin handball-sport.
Bosnian born, Norwegian citizen goalkeeper Alma Hasanic has become Montenegrin last year (with a Montenegrin relative line after her mother) and she could be a big reinforcement for the team, but she got pregnant this year, so will miss the OG.
Since then they were far away from these type of results, closest they reached was in 2014, 4th place at EURO. Despite a weaker period, Montenegro managed to qualify to OG again, from the same tournament with Romania and Denmark, where Danish girls had to wave goodbye to their Olympic dreams.
Two months before the OG rumours were spread in the world of handball about Bojana Popovic (37) starting the workouts again in order to help the team in Rio. Rumours showed to be a fact and one of the best handball players of all times is back on the court and she will even bear the flag of her country at the opening ceremony of the games.
Team captain, Marija Jovanovic has struggled with an injury lately and she was not able to train at her highest capacity, that was one of the reasons for Popovic’s comeback. Jovanovic is also in Rio, as a reserve, Adzic’s plan might be to replace another player with Jovanovic in the most important phase of the competition if the team qualifies.
Preparation games for Montenegro: Montenegro-Russia 27-26 (12-13), Sweden-Montenegro 27-29 (16-12), Netherlands – Montenegro 23 – 13 (12-8)
The SQUAD of Montenegro can be seen here
Key players: Jovanka Radicevic-rightwing, Katarina Bulatovic-rightback, Milena Kenezevic-playmaker
Absentees: Alma Hasanic (goalkeeper)-pregnant, Sara Vukcevic (lineplayer)-not selected
Chances: they are in the group of death, need to win against one of the teams like Norway, Brazil, Romania or Spain, plus Angola to go the eightfinals. They definitely have the potential to do so, my prediction is that they will not qualify from the groups.