Bibars Natcho is back after two months spent off the pitch. We spoke to this 33-year-old midfielder on his anemia problems, new desires and current form.
You are finally back with the team after being sidelined for two months. What happened and how did you feel during this time?
“For other people it was two months, for me it looked like it was two years. Then again, I`m kind of glad it happened 15 years into my career. For the last six months I felt fatigued and didn`t understand why. I was thinking of many things but anemia never occurred to me. I`m happy I found a solution as it could have turned into something more serious. The problem is solved and I`m back stronger than ever”, said Natcho.
You said you played with 50% of your abilities lately. What can we expect from you after the winter break?
“I also had an adductor injury and for the last 12 months I felt a lot of pain. After playing 60 or 70 minutes I felt horrible. Moreover, anemia took all power and strength I had. Now, I`m ready to fly again”.
You were in Israel over the past few months. How was it back home and when did you start training?
“I was with my mother all the time. I left Israel as a 13-year-old and didn`t get to spend much time with her. My wife and children returned to Serbia but I stayed with my mum. We watched Netflix all day, talked, ate together, which was nice. On the other hand, I couldn`t do much, my body needed rest. For almost 6 weeks I couldn`t do anything as I was focusing on anemia and I also had a surgery. My body suffered trauma but now I`m ok and happy, I train again and I`m getting close to my full strengths. I hope I`ll be better with each new day”.
I guess you watched final Partizan games before winter break here. How did you feel as a spectator?
“On one hand, it was strange. I left due to an injury, Markovic had one too and then Ricardo started feeling unwell while Pantic missed a couple of games too. I started to panic but I was thrilled to see other teammates not give up. We achieved such a good results and showed we have a good roster, our subs bench proved better than the regular line-up at times. This showed our power and I now have a hope and confidence in our mighty bench”.
Full squad is here in Turkey now. You all know each other quite well, is that important for the team?
“We had tough time when we suffered defeats, when we had some injuries and bad weather conditions to play in, but we pushed forward together, as a team. Therefore, we are now ready to take matters into our own hands, we are moving forward gradually and work on it. This season, our head coach helped us build something and we need to keep it, to be better with each new day and each new game. I`m happy with it all as we train hard, we know our objectives, who our opponents are and we will push forward for a win”.
Fixture list for the rest of the season is tough. Once you are back home, you travel away to Radnicki followed by Sparta Prague away, Radnicki KG home and then Eternal derby game away, all in February.
“That`s right, it will be tough over next few months and we have to give it all in, to start well and in full strengths. But, we have no time to think about it, we need to go step by step, we need to keep our strengths from the go because it`s going to be pretty tough over the next few months. We know where we stand, we are top of the pile five points ahead from the second-placed and everyone will do their best to win us. I believe everything is up to us though, if we are focused in each game I believe we`ll continue our form we had towards the end of the first part of the season”.
How much do you know about Sparta Prague?
“Not much. I watched few of their games on TV, their European games. I think they are good and strong team but I believe in our team”.
There are lots of youngsters in the team. What do you think about that and Marko Milovanovic in particular?
“Yes, we have lots of talented youngsters. That`s Partizan mentality, you have to give young players opportunities and chance to build on. They are really good and talented, they want to play and learn from us seasoned players and it`s nice to see them train with us. If I can help them with my experiences, I do so. I`m really happy to do it as they are really good lads and they listen to you. They improve every day. As for Milovanovic, I can say it was hard moving to the first team at such tender age, boss brought him in when we had a tough time, but he did a great job and scored goals. It might be harder for him now, but with hard work and willingness at all times, I think he`s got a good future ahead of him”.
You said you watched Netflix with your mother while your family was in Belgrade. But, I saw a photo of you fishing with your sons?
“They were in Israel for a couple of days while I was resting. Sometimes, I felt I had no strength to go around with them everywhere and they wanted to play football and basketball all the time. I kept saying I can`t but they were persistent, “come on daddy, come on!”. It was a tough period but it was also nice to be with your family, as the family is so important to me”.
So, you like fishing?
“I`m not really good at it”.
We sent FK Partizan 2022 Calendar to your sons. Were they surprised?
“When the box arrived they were curious to see what`s in it and when they saw it was Partizan, they were thrilled. They wanted to name every single player. My sons love football and Partizan, it was a nice gift for them”.