Since October 2022, Uros Stevanovic has been the head coach of Serbian men’s water polo team. Stevanovic replaced Dejan Savic who resigned after the European Championships in 2022 when the team finished in 9th place.

Stevanovic is not a newbie around the Serbian water polo team – he was the assistant coach next to Savic.

Image Source: Uros Stevanovic coaching Serbia vs. Montenegro in the men's water polo Preliminary Round I at the World Aquatics Championships - Fukuoka 2023 (Aniko Kovacs/World Aquatics)

“We would like to build a new team, but we need time for that. But the only thing we do not have is time...” Stevanovic stated in an interview with World Aquatics.

“A lot of players no longer agreed to participate in the national team after the Olympics in Tokyo, so we have lost a lot of players. We had a new team at the European Championships in Croatia and at the World Championships in Budapest,” noted Stevanovic. “After those two international tournaments, we changed many things. Last year we started something new. The main goal is to create a team who can qualify for the Games in Paris.”

We Need to Improve Step By Step

Image Source: Serbia's Sava Randelovic in action against South Africa in the preliminary round of the World Aquatics Championships - Fukuoka 2023 (Mike Lewis/World Aquatics)

“We are in Group C with Japan, USA and a team from Europe at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha,” Stevanovic noted. “The first step is to come back to the top 8; after that we will see what we can reach, but we need to improve step by step.

“The main goal is to secure our place for the Olympics,” said the strong-minded Stevanovic.

The Return of a Water Polo Maestro | Dusan Mandic Comes Back

Image Source: Dusan Mandic celebrates Serbia winning the Men's Water Polo Gold Medal match between Croatia and Serbia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Dusan Mandic was missing from the Serbian national team last year. He explained that he wasn’t physically and mentally ready for the challenges with the national team last summer and that he needed a rest. It’s over, and he is ready to be back in the pool on international level. Uros Stevanovic expressed, “His comeback changes the team in a good way!”


Serbia Says They Need Time – The Only Thing In Short Supply Is Time

Image Source: Serbia's Nemanja Ubovic takes a fouled from the Italian defence during the men's QF match at the World Aquatics Championships - Fukuoka 2023 (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Stevanovic made it clear: that they need to work a lot and harder, but it takes time to make changes.

But the only thing they do not have is time because in 6 months there will be crucial tournaments, like the European Championships (in January) and World Championships (in February), where in each case, they need to perform at the highest level.

Image Source: Serbia taking on Germany at the World Aquatics Men's Water Polo World Cup 2023 Finals in Los Angeles, USA (Catharyn Hayne/World Aquatics)

“Serbia has a huge tradition in water polo, and it comes with pressure because the Serbian people wish to see the team on the podium,” Stevanovic  said. “In Serbia everybody expects the past’s great results to be continued. It is very hard at the moment to live up to this expectation. I cannot say it's impossible, but it's very tough. We work harder day by day and I hope it pays off.

“We started the preparation in December for the European Championships, but without a few players, because they were injured,” added Stevanovic. “It’s a bit problematic if you start to work, but you do not know who will be ready for the tournament. I hope we can bring the best of our team to Doha, and we can be on the podium again, after 2017.”