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23.06.2014, 16:29
From Linz and Traun to the Qatari desert
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FEATURE: Roland Marouschek, head coach of Austria's 'Team 94', talked to eurohandball.com about the upcoming Men's 20 EHF EURO and the newly gained self-confidence in Austrian handball
 

From Linz and Traun to the Qatari desert

Austria has started to count down. In just over a month the Men's 20 EHF EURO throws off in Linz and Traun (24 July to 3 August).

Following a sixth place finish two years ago at the Men's 18 EHF EURO, which also took place in Austria, the host nation's 'Team 94', the nickname for Austria's current under-20 national made team made up of young men born in 1994 or younger, is looking forward to once again showcasing its skills on home court.

Head coach Roland Marouschek, who formerly also coached Austria senior men's national team, knows about the size of the task that lies ahead – but also about the opportunities that lie within.

“First of all I have to say that we are really looking forward to this tournament,” he tells eurohandball.com.

“When it comes to the development of young players, these younger age category events are simply a perfect opportunity.”

For the past two and half weeks (until Friday 20 June) Marouschek had summoned his players for two separate training camps at which he focused on building their strength and stamina.

“Our working conditions are perfect. It couldn't get any better. The federation has been investing for several years, there is support from the government and I also want to thank the clubs. All this support does not come naturally.”

There are three more test matches scheduled, against Slovenia on 5 July and against France on 11 and 12 July, before things get serious on 24 July with the first group match against Belarus.

The under-20's two further opponents in Group C are Slovakia and Germany.

“We meet every team with all the necessary respect,” says Marouschek. “Belarus are opponents that we know quite well and are at the same level. The same holds true for Slovakia. In both matches the team that's in better shape on the actual day is likely to take the victory.

“Germany, on the other hand, are the overwhelming favourites; not only for this match but also for the entire tournament. However, even though we might only have a small chance against them, we want to grab it with both hands.”

Marouschek believes that the most recent success the senior national team enjoyed with qualifying to the EHF EURO 2014 and the 2015 World Championship is also a boost for his boys.

“There is entirely new sense of self-esteem and self-confidence,” he says. “When my boys watch players like Viktor Szilagyi and Conny Wilczynski, they can see what's possible to achieve with ambition and hard work.

“Of course, they followed the World Championship play-offs against Norway, and after having watched performances like this they get up from their TVs and have grown by at least three centimetres.

“Some of my players can go all the way. And who knows? Maybe the head coach (Patrekur Johannesson, senior national team coach) takes the one or two young players with him to Qatar.

“Now, at the Men's 20 EHF EURO, is the chance for my players to prove themselves.”

Photo credit: ÖHB


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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