Q&A: Jake & Joey discuss their first week in Serbia


Mariners young guns Joey Jevtic and Jake Jovanovski have wrapped up their first week in Serbia with OFK Belgrade’s U/19 side and we recently caught up with the two boys over the phone.

It’s been a major adjustment for our Mariners Academy boys, but they’ve both had nothing but positive feedback to report so far. From training hard, to learning the local lingo, to getting their first pre-season friendly under their belts, Jevtic and Jovanovski are at the beginning of their Serbian adventure.

They’ve hit the ground running, getting straight into training with the rest of the squad.

1. How is the experience so far, and are you adapting to the different weather and the culture over there?

JOEY JEVTIC: So far it’s all been good – it’s very cold here but everyone at the club has been fantastic in making us feel welcome. It was great to meet Vlad and Anton here on the first day when we arrived to help introduce us to everyone at the club and help show us the facilities

JAKE JOVANOVSKI: Joey and I are sharing a room in the players accommodation block with meals provided for us and everything is going well so far. We are very happy to be here and both of us are very keen to do well.

2. How was the first game?

JOEY JEVTIC: The first game was good, we both were played for 45 minutes and we were up 2-0 at half time. We got to see what the level is like and what style of football OFK want to play and I think we suit it very well. The coaches were very happy with us which was a really  a good feeling.

JAKE JOVANOVSKI: The game was at a high level . Although only  pre-season friendly, it certainly didn’t feel like one as it was incredibly intense and competitive. To be able to play with the team and work on the chemistry this early was perfect for Joey and I – and also getting on the score sheet was a good way for me to start off my time at OFK.


3. How does the training style over there compare?

JOEY JEVTIC :  I have to say that the training here is of a really high standard – it’s very hard, sharp and fast, and all the players and coaches are always 100 % focused. The level of every session is really high and it’s very intense – but that’s why we came here for –  to improve as players.

JAKE JOVANOVSKI : The intensity of each session is always at 100%, which shows why football in Europe is leading the way. The professionalism and attitude of the boys really what stands out. It’s a great environment for any young footballer to be in.


4. What are you hoping to achieve while you’re over in Serbia?

JOEY JEVTIC: The dream is to have bigger and better clubs interested in me to sign, but if not then to improve as a player and bring the intensity here back to Australia.

JAKE JOVANOVSKI: My mentality while I am over here is firstly to develop and improve as a player… however OFK are famous for their talented youth academy world-wide, developing players such as Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandr Kolarov, so to be able to follow the footsteps of players such as these and break into European football is the ultimate goal and I think OFK is a great place for that.


5. Training camp soon in Macedonia, are you looking forward to that?

JOEY JEVTIC: My father was born and raised in Macedonia so to experience elements of the lifestyle while playing football there will be an amazing opportunity.

JAKE JOVANOVSKI: We are both really looking forward to heading over there to train hard in preparation for the upcoming season. There are also some friendlies against some leading Macedonian clubs organised – which will be really great to be part of if we are given the opportunity.


OFK BELGRADE is one of the oldest clubs in Serbia. The opportunity for Jevtic and Jovanovski to train there was after discussion and agreement between Central Coast Mariners’ Co-Chairmen Mike Charlesworth and Anton Tagliaferro, and Vladimir Simovic. Anton is a sponsor of OFK Belgrade and Vladimir is a Sporting Adviser to the club.