Jakov Filipovic exchanged captain’s armband at BATE Borisov for the Beverse bank: “Still, I do not regret my choice”

Football Challenger Pro League Promotion Play-Offs SK Beveren

Jakov Filipovic is happy to be back in Belgium: “The last six months were not easy in Belarus. We lived only a three-hour drive from the war. Then you start to think.” — © Erik Westerlinck

Jakov Filipovic (30) was brought in with a big drum at SK Beveren this winter. Yet the Croatian defender only kicked off twice. Due to the suspension of Aleksandar Vukotic, he is expected again in the team against Beerschot this weekend. Filipovic talks about his departure from Belarus, the importance of his family, his choice for Beveren and the title fight in the Challenger Pro League. “We have to keep believing until the last moment,” says Filipovic.

Wim Houttequiet

Beveren already wanted to bring Jakov Filipovic to the Waasland last summer, but since BATE Borisov played qualifying matches for the Europa League, he was not allowed to leave. This winter, the Croatian defender was out of contract and Beveren took home his blow. His adventure in Beveren started well. Filipovic was immediately in the starting line-up for the first two matches. Then he faded into the background. “I needed an adjustment to play with three in the back,” explains the Croat. “Moreover, the team did well. The trainer had no reason to change. Of course I want to play, but I’m not going to argue here. I am not twenty years old anymore. Everyone gets along well. So I certainly do not regret my choice for Beveren.”

Vukotic is suspended this weekend, which will probably give Filipovic his chance again. “You have to ask the coach. I hope to play, but it is also possible that the trainer has a different vision. If the coach wants me to play, at least I’m ready. I train every day and I feel good here. I don’t expect that we will suddenly play in a different line-up,” says Filipovic.

Better life

From BATE Borisov to SK Beveren. From qualifying matches for the Europa League to the Belgian second division. “A step back? It depends how you look at it. BATE is a top team that everyone in Europe knows, but we never really felt at home there. When Beveren’s offer came, we didn’t hesitate. Yes, I was captain of BATE, but life is much better here. The total package fell into place here. My wife really likes living in Belgium. The last six months have not been easy in Belarus. We lived only a three-hour drive from the war. Then you start to think. We weren’t scared, but it came very close. It was not an easy period, especially with my wife and two daughters. My family is everything to me.”

Everything is possible

With three matches to play, Beveren is one point behind leader RWDM. “Of course we still believe in the title,” says Filipovic. “One point is still better than four points behind. We have to win every match and hope for a mistake by RWDM. Everything is possible in football. I am always positive, so we have to keep believing until the last moment. Just look at Real Madrid in the Champions League against Manchester City last season. They also seemed to be eliminated, but in the end they put things in order.”

Filipovic signed a contract for 2.5 years in the Waasland this winter. The Croatian defender is far from thinking about stopping, but is not concerned about ending his career in Belgium. “I want stability in my life, especially for my wife and two daughters,” said Filipovic. “Since my daughters were born, my life has changed. I am now responsible for them. They must be safe and able to enjoy life. And don’t have to worry about moving every year. We are having a great time in Belgium. Maybe after my career we will stay here, who knows.”

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