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13.09.2013, 09:56
"I’ll be back," vouches Talant Dujshebaev
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INTERVIEW: Part 2 of our "Where are they now"-series about the stars from previous EHF EURO events focuses on arguably one of the most talented players European handball has ever had. And the Kyrgyzstan-born Spaniard not only looks back at his remarkable career, but also tells what the future holds for him
 

"I’ll be back," vouches Talant Dujshebaev

The countdown clock to the 2014 EHF European Championship continues to tick down - as of October 2013 there will be a mere 100 days to go.

While the participating teams and its star players start getting in shape for the final tournament, we use the opportunity to look back at the stars from yesterday. The players that stood and occasionally still stand for success at the previous EHF EURO events.

Part two of our 'Where are they now?'-series is former Spanish centre back Talant Dujshebaev who was voted Most Valuable Player at the 1996 EHF EURO in Spain.

Dujshebaev was one of the outstanding handball players of the 1990s and the early years of the new millennium.

After having won, to name just a few, gold at the 1992 Olympic Games and the EHF Champions League in 1994, there was no lack of success once he decided to become a handball coach.

With Dujshebaev at the helm, Spanish side Ciudad Real dominated Spanish as well as European handball, winning the EHF Champions League in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

eurohandball.com now had the opportunity to evoke some of these memories.

eurohandball.com: What are you memories of the EHF European Championship held in Spain in 1996?
Talant Dujshebaev:
This was a tournament into which we went hesitantly. (Enric) Massip was injured in the first match we played, and (Inaki) Urdangarin was not able to play because of injuries either. So we did not really know what to expect.

eurohandball.com: And?
Dujshebaev:
And what happened was that the whole team reacted in a superb way. I remember an excellent (Mateo) Garralda, fantastic goalkeeping from Jaume Fort, great defence from (Aitor) Etxaburu, also Josu Olalla. I have great memories from that tournament.

I have won the Champion League, Olympic gold, but one of the strongest and best memories I will ever keep in my mind as a player will be semi-final against the Yugoslavian national team.

The winners would get the ticket for Atlanta 96 (the Olympic Games) and the losers would miss out on it. The tension before the match was unbelievable. It was played in Ciudad Real and I remember it being really hot.

It was a thrilling match against players like (Nedeljko) Jovanovic, (Dejan) Peric, (Nenad) Perunici. And in the end it was us who made it!

eurohandball.com: And then you played the final against Russia…
Dujshebaev:
That was a real pity. We were one goal down and seven seconds away from the final whistle we steal the ball, but the great Labrov saves it. That’s sport, you know (Spain lost the final 22:23).

But I think it was the real take off for the Spanish national team to start winning medals and major tournaments. Before that the team usually ended up being fifth place or so and always out of the medal range. After the 1996 European Championship the story has been different – and more successful.

eurohandball.com: What is the main difference for you between playing for a club or for the national team?
Dujshebaev:
For me to represent your country is the maximum reward you can aspire to as an athlete.

When you play for a club it is great, you fight for a city, for your fans, but it is your job at the same time. So there is a big difference between the one and the other.

eurohandball.com: After the 1996 tournament you continued playing handball for another eight years before you decided to become a coach? Why did you decide to go down that route?
Dujshebaev:
I consider myself a lucky person. I have had excellent coaches all my life in both the clubs I played for and the national teams. I have always played as playmaker and in that position you need to communicate with your coach.

In fact, a playmaker is the extension of him on the court, so I thought I could gather all the knowledge I had accumulated throughout all my playing years and pass it on. Therefore I started writing everything on a notepad and here I am.

eurohandball.com: But unexpectedly you had to play again (in the 2006/07 season). What was that experience like?
Dujshebaev:
That is true. We had injuries in Ciudad Real that were impossible to cover with the right player (in particular Uros Zorman) or the right players were just too expensive, so I had to come in again.

I remember those eight months as very, very hard ones, as I had to do everything from both sides. Almost every day I just wanted to come home and put my feet on ice…

eurohandball.com: Many people know that your surname continues its journey in handball with your son Alex, but not so many have heard of your second son Dani yet. What do you think about their skills and possibilities?
Dujshebaev:
My entire life has always turned around handball. My wife played handball, I played handball and now I’m coach it and my two sons are deeply involved with the sport.

Alex was supposed to play for Atletico Madrid, but after what happened he left for Vardar Skopje, as his intentions were to play in the VELUX EHF Champions League. He is a natural leader and I think he is on the right track to become successful.

Dani is only 16 years old. He is very tall, but he still needs to develop himself and go through many things to become a professional. But in the end I am very proud both chose to play handball. I just hope the surname is not too much of a burden for them.

eurohandball.com: What does the future look like for Talant Dujshebaev?
Dujshebaev: What happened to Atletico Madrid a few months ago was totally unexpected and very disappointing for me.

Although I received some offers from different clubs I did not feel I was in the mood to coach. My mind was elsewhere. It has been 29 years non-stop for me so I see this as an opportunity to spend time with my family, travel, learn a few things, see my sons play more often…

I have, as I said, several proposals but will not decide anything until November at least. Next year I’ll be back.


TEXT: Francisco Miranda / ts
 
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