Best players and coaches of 2023 voted in Montenegro

by Press
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After votes were cast by clubs, members of the Board of Directors as well as of the Coaching Commission of the Volleyball Federation of Montenegro (OSCG), the best and most promising volleyball players and the best coaches of the Balkan country for 2023 were eventually identified earlier this month.

Benjamin Hadžisalihović, who plays for OK Budva, has emerged as the best male player from domestic competitions. Hadžisalihović is a member of the Montenegrin men’s senior national team and has shown remarkable performances both in the domestic championship and in European competitions while playing for OK Budva. Hadžisalihović received seven votes, while competing for this recognition alongside Bojan Strugar (Budućnost volley / Milas Belediye Türkiye, 4 votes), Stefan Radević (Budućnost volley, 3 votes), and Matija Ćinćur (OK Budva).

On the other hand, moving to male players competing abroad, Đorđe Jovović, who has been competing in Slovenia for OK Triglav Kranj, has seized the relevant prize. Jovović participated with the senior national team in the 2023 edition of the CEV European Championship. In the 2022/2023 season, he was the top scorer in the Slovenian championship with as many as 525 points. As Triglav’s opposite, he has been performing in an impressive way this season as well, currently topping the scoring charts with 238 points scored and he is the best server as well with 23 aces in 11 rounds. Jovović won 10 votes, while Vojin Ćaćić (Al Faisali, Saudi Arabia) received four. The other competitors in contention were Marko Bojić (Al Jazeera, UAE) and Jovan Delić (Maccabi, Israel).

Nikola Đurović, a member of Jedinstvo, has claimed the award for the most promising player. At seventeen years old, Đurović was the youngest member of the senior national team of Montenegro at EuroVolley 2023. Moreover, he played with the U22 national team at the qualifiers for next year’s European Championship held this past summer in Italy. In the 2022/2023 season, Đurović was recognised as the best middle blocker in the age-group domestic championships of Montenegro. Đurović received 9 votes, while competing for the award against Luka Lojić (Budućnost volley, 4 votes) and Lazar Cimbaljević (Jedinstvo, 1 vote).

Miljan Bošković has been selected as the best coach in men’s domestic competitions for 2023. This past season, Bošković coached the Podgorica-based team Budućnost Volley, leading them to the runner-up position in the national league and in the national cup as well. He also guided the U22 national team in the European Championship qualifiers and was a member of the coaching staff for the men’s senior national team too. With 12 votes, Bošković secured the award edging Darko Prebiračević (2 votes) and Miloš Marković.

Tatjana Bokan will receive the prize for the best female player across domestic competitions for the year 2023. She represented the club OK Herceg Novi in the past season. Bokan celebrated a double crown in the 2022/2023 season and was chosen as the MVP of the National Cup final match. Bokan received 13 votes, thereby outclassing Teodora Čavić (Galeb Liko Soho Group, 2 votes) and Melisa Cenović (OK Herceg Novi).

Mina Dragović, who plays in Serbia for Jedinstvo Stara Pazova, is the best female player competing abroad. In the past season, Dragović, playing for Jedinstvo, became the national champion of Serbia, contributing significantly to her team’s success. She also delivered impressive performances with the senior national team of Montenegro in the CEV European Silver League, where Montenegro reached the Final Four tournament held in Austria. Dragović received 16 votes, while Danijela Džaković (Assitec, Italy / Tarnow, Poland) got five. The other competitors in contention for the award were Katarina Budrak (Bordeaux / Volley-Ball de Romans, France) and Dijana Vuković (CSO Voluntari 2005, Romania / OK Herceg Novi).

Kristina Božović, who plays for Luka Bar, is the recipient of the award for the most promising female player. As an opposite of Luka Bar, Božović consistently delivers impressive performances and frequently emerges as the top scorer in the domestic championship – the EPCG Super League. She is a member of the U19 and U21 national teams of Montenegro, and she represented her country at the Balkan Championships held last summer in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria, respectively. Božović secured eight votes, while Darja Popović (Budućnost volley) and Anastasija Bogojević (Morača) each received four. Gordana Madžgalj (Jedinstvo) received two votes, and Lana Rakočević (Budućnost volley) claimed one.

Vladimir Milačić, the coach of Luka Bar, is the top women’s coach across all domestic competitions held in 2023. Milačić guided the team from Bar to a second-place finish in the league phase of the national championship with a record of 15 wins and three losses. He received seven votes, while Mladen Miladinović (Jedinstvo) and Milan Marković (Akademija) claimed six apiece. Petar Koković (Galeb Liko Soho Group) received two votes.

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