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28.08.2014, 16:40
Toft avoiding comparisons to legendary Rantala
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INTERVIEW: Danish goalkeeper Sandra Toft talks to ehfCL.com about her move to Larvik HK and being considered as the successor to Lene Rantala
 

Toft avoiding comparisons to legendary Rantala

Sandra Toft was fully aware that she has some big shoes to fill when she joined Larvik HK on a three-year contract this summer.

At the ambitious Norwegian club, 24-year-old Toft was signed as the successor to another Dane, Lene Rantala, who at the end of last season ended her career aged 45, looking back at no less than 39 titles during her 17 years at the club.

Those achievements have quite naturally made Rantala a legend in Larvik, but replacing her does not put any huge pressure on Sandra Toft, who joined after seven years with Danish league club Team Tvis Holstebro.

“On the contrary, I think it is cool to be following in the footsteps of such a great goalkeeper,” Sandra Toft tells efhCL.com.

“I am not the new Lene Rantale, however. I am Sandra Toft, and I am going to try and contribute with what I can do,” says Toft, who was first-choice goalkeeper in the Danish national team, until a cruciate ligament injury forced her into a long break last year.

Even though Lene Rantala has ended her active career, Toft does not lack an experienced partner among the goalkeepers in Larvik. At the age of 39, world class keeper Cecilie Leganger is still going strong.

“I hope and expect to learn a lot from Cecilie who has experienced just about everything in the handball world.

”However, we are three goalkeepers in the squad, and we can probably all learn from each other,” finds Toft, referring also to 25-year- old Alma Hasanic, who has been with the club since 2013.

No hierarchy

“Joining Larvik after seven years in a safe and secure environment among friends and relatives in Team Tvis Holstebro has of course been tough, but also exciting, and I have had to find a new role on and outside the court.

“However, l do not really feel any hierarchy among us goalkeepers, we are a trio who can help each other and learn from each other," says Sandra Toft, who has already got her share of match practice with her new team.

Recently, Larvik took part in the PWC Handball Fiesta in Györ, Hungary, where the opponents were host and double Women’s EHF Champions League winner Györi Audi ETO KC as well as WHC Vardar SCBT from Skopje.

Larvik defeated Györ 30:24 before losing the deciding game 25:24 to Vardar.

“I played the first 35 minutes against Györ and that went really well. I was not all that impressed by the world stars I played against, but then again, I am used to all of them from the Danish national team, where I also hope to meet them again soon,” says the Dane, who also spoke about having a longer summer vacation than she was used to in Denmark.

“Yes, we start pre-season training a bit later here than in Denmark. Actually, we did not start until 4 August, but that was mainly because our training is taking aim at the Champions League, which starts in October,” explains the Dane, who can look forward to meeting HCM Baia Mara from Romania, Metz Handball from France and MKS Selgros Lublin from Poland with her new teammates, when the Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches starts in the third weekend of October.

“We are practicing hard summer training until October, and considering how many good players we are in the team, I am convinced that we will be really strong when the Champions League starts,” concludes Toft.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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