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27.10.2014, 22:00
A well-known coach gets Romania off to a new start
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PREVIEW: 54-year-old Aihan Omer, commencing his third stint as Romanian head coach, leads the men's national team into the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification, starting with a double-header against Kosovo
 

A well-known coach gets Romania off to a new start

2014 was supposed to become a year in which the Romanian men's national team can regroup and find back to former strength – but even in a 'gap year' like this positive results need to be produced.

And this was not the case for Romania. The first drawback came in April when they lost the intermediate play-offs in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification against Finland and therefore missed out on Qualification Phase 2.

It was also the end for head coach Eliodor Voica, who had to leave his post.

The second drawback came in June when Romania lost to Sweden in the World Championship 2015 Play-offs.

French coach Christian Gaudin had been charge of the team then, but when he was appointed new head coach of German Bundesliga side HSV Hamburg, the position at the team's helm was once again vacant.

However, it as not anymore, as Aihan Omer has been appointed and given the task to lead Romania into the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification which starts with a double-header against Kosovo this week (on 29 October and 1 November).

The 54-year old Omer already coached Romania twice. First between 1994 and 2003 and again between 2007 and 2009, with the qualification to the World Championship 2009, Romania's first participation in 15 years back then, one of his biggest successes.

"This offer came as a surprise, but I could not say no," Omer openly admits.

"The national team is like the military service, your obligation is to be ready and accept the offer. It’s a matter of honour to represent your country."

According to Omer, his goal is to lead Romania to the World Championship 2017 in France.

But Omer’s first competitive games as head coach are the aforementioned EHF EURO 2018 qualifiers against Kosovo, who were granted full membership by the EHF Congress in September and play their very first EHF EURO Qualification.

"We have hit rock bottom and I want to bring back Romania to where it belongs. We won't win tournaments, but we deserve, at least, to qualify for the EHF EURO or the World Championship," says Omer.

His first action as a coach was to call up a balanced squad for the qualifiers. 

Fresh faces like Demis Grigoras or Dan Racotea are joined by veterans such as Laurentiu Toma, Valentin Ghionea, Ionut Stanescu and Alin Sania, the latter making his comeback after a four-year break from the national team.

"Romania need every player it can motivate to come to the national team. I do not know why several players decided not to play anymore, but I will change their minds," says Omer.



Romania’s squad for the EHF EURO 2018 qualifiers against Kosovo

Goalkeepers: Ionut Stanescu (HCM Constanta), Bogdan Pralea (HC Vaslui), Razvan Szopka (Potaissa Turda)

Right wings: Valentin Ghionea (Wisla Plock), Laurentiu Toma (HCM Constanţa)

Left wings: Alexandru Asoltanei (Dinamo București), George Buricea (HCM Constanţa)
Left backs: Alexandru Simicu (HSV Hamburg), Dan Racotea (Wisla Plock), Alin Sania (Dunarea Calarasi)

Right backs: Bogdan Criciotoiu (TSG Ludwigshafen-Friesenheim), Cristian Ghita (Selestat Alsace Handball), Demis Grigoras (Poli Timişoara)

Centre backs: Alexandru Csepreghi (US Creteil Handball), Marius Stavrositu (HCM Constanta)

Line players: Dan Savenco (Dinamo Bucuresti), Marius Novanc (CSM Bucuresti), Dragos Iancu (Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau)


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ts
 
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