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16.04.2013, 16:18
Denič to lead Slovenia until Rio
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Successful coach to stay on despite Iceland setback
 

Denič to lead Slovenia until Rio

Extending a contract with a national team coach immediately after two consecutive, narrow and painful defeats would normally raise a few eyebrows.

Not in the case of Slovenia's Boris Denič. Not only does the 45-year-old from Ljubljana still have an excellent chance to reach the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark with his team, he has his eyes on a long-term prize, a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“It is nice to get recognized for one's good work in the past. However, I know all too well that my tenure is only as strong as my results.

“I will be the coach as long as there is success,” says the former goalie, who after coaching Slovan, was the national team assistant to Kasim Kamenica, Miro Požun and Zvonimir Serdarušić.

Denič took over as an interim coach of Slovenia in October 2010 after the resignation of Serdarušić.

He was formally given the position of the National team coach nearly two months later after regaining Slovenia's momentum on the international stage.

Not only did he secure a place at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia, where his team finished sixth, but he also took Slovenia to fourth place at the World Championship, where the Slovenian charge was not stopped until the semi-final by hosts and eventual champions Spain.

“We had some good achievements in the past, no doubt. But there's also the future. After my arrival we started to introduce more and more young players to the national team. Slovenia has excellent potential,” insists Denič.

There are no doubts regarding the competitive challenges of this generation. In the short run the objective is first qualification to Denmark, where a top eight finish is a must and then the focus will shift to Rio.

The two narrow defeats to Iceland in the recent qualification games (28:29 in Maribor and 34:35 in Reykjavik) have complicated things somewhat, but have not shaken the morale or the course of Slovenia's ship.

“In sport there are also bad moments. In every match we focus hard on our performance, we want to win every time, so every defeat hurts.

“Iceland had more luck this time, they weren't better,” says the coach, who admits that being the coach of a national team can be frustrating off the court as well.

“Waiting is the worst. We get together every three months and we only have two or three practices before things get serious on the court.

“In this waiting period I just hope that everyone will be injury-free.

“But the best part of my job is working with these top-level athletes. I enjoy the process where I try new ideas, and have them react to them, have rapport with them.

“It is amazing, when they improve one's concept, a detail, that upgrades an attacking sequence,” explains Denič.

Boris Denič radiates confidence in his players, although he was forced to make a generational switch in the team. The transition was pretty seamless, although a lot of that owed to the implementation of a new system.

“It is a tough challenge, rejuvenating the team and successfully competing at the same time.

“We needed the experience of the older players like Zorman and Žvižej to implant confidence in the youngsters.

“We also have a specific approach to the game itself. We strive for every player to know exactly what is expected of him in every situation, in every segment of the game.

“This takes a lot of practice, commitment and concentration. But this also gives the whole team a sense of common purpose,” concluded Denič.

Good performances have surely played a part in a small exodus of Slovenians to foreign, richer leagues.

Denič hopes that his boys will benefit from playing abroad and is sure that big things await them.

His passion for handball is obvious and contagious and the attitude of his players on the court is a testament to that.


TEXT: Grega Sever / cor
 
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