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02.03.2016, 11:56
Belarus hope to beat Lithuania twice
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PREVIEW: They have zero points to date, but Belarus assure themselves that nothing is lost and the chance to qualify for their first EHF EURO since 2008 still exists
 

Belarus hope to beat Lithuania twice

For Belarus, the start of their Women’s EHF EURO 2016 qualifying campaign was disappointing.

Being seeded in the very strong Group 1, they lost their games against Norway and Romania and are therefore still looking for their first points.

However, ahead of the double-header against Lithuania, the team and ist head coach, Slovenian Tomaz Cater, still believes in its chances.

On 9 March, the two teams will play in Kaunas, and four days later, Belarus will host the game in Minsk, at the Uruchye Sport Complex which has recently been reopened after reconstruction.

Belarus have not qualified to the final tournament since EHF EURO 2008, but this time they hope to finally break the ice.

Nothing is lost

Despite of the setbacks against Norway and Romania, Cater tries to sound optimistic. "The fight is going on. Nothing is lost yet.

“We still have two games against Lithuania, then we will play Norway at home, and the key match will be in Romania,“ he says.

If Cater’s women really want to go from zero to hero, they obviously must first of all take the maximum of points from the matches against Lithuania.

History prompts that it is quite possible: Belarus has played 20 games against Lithuania, winning 16 of them.

“We know Lithuania very well as we have played a number of friendly games with them during the recent years. Now the goal is to win twice. We have more experience, but we should take these games seriously. It will not be an easy walk,” says Cater.

Hit by injuries

Unfortunately for Cater, in the upcoming double-header some players from his usual squad will be missing.

In particular, the coach faces some problems on the wings as left wing Natalia Kotsina from Turkey's Muratpasa and right wing Yana Yemelyanenko from Russia's Astrakhanochka will not play due to knee injuries.

Moreover, experienced BNTU-BELAZ playmaker Hanna Sukhamirava also injured her knee at the last Belarusian league game, and Katsiaryna Silitskaya, the right back from BNTU-BELAZ, sustained a collarbone injury.

Since January, Tomaz Cater works not only with the national team. He also became the head coach of Gomel, a team which now delegated five players to the Belarus squad. "I think it was a very good decision. Now I have more working experience,” says the Slovenian.

The Belarus squad for the EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against Lithuania:

Goalkeepers: Valiantsina Kumpel (Gomel), Volha Nikitsina (BNTU-BELAZ), Yuliya Shut (BNTU-BELAZ)

Wings: Iryna Dronava (Gomel), Hanna Yashchyk (SPR Pogon Szczecin), Krystyna Akhramenko (Gomel), Tatsiana Rudkouskaya (BNTU-BELAZ)

Line players: Viktoriya Shamanouskaya (Gomel), Iryna Tryzno (Kuban Krasnodar), Anastasiya Lobach (Gomel) 

Back court: Dziyana Ilyina (Gomel), Valiantsina Nestsiaruk (Lublin), Liliya Artsiukhovich (BNTU-BELAZ), Anastasiya Mazgo (BNTU-BELAZ), Karyna Yezhykava (Astrahanochka), Natallia Vasileuskaya (Kuban Krasnodar), Alesia Mihdaliova (Lublin), Maryia Kanaval (BNTU-BELAZ)


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / ts
 
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