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09.11.2018, 13:27
Anikó Kovacsics, a player who bridges two shores
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EHF EURO KEY PLAYERS: With several experienced players injured or retired from the national team, Anikó Kovacsics will be the guiding force for Hungary’s young and talented squad at the EHF EURO 2018
 

Anikó Kovacsics, a player who bridges two shores

Women’s handball in Hungary started to make the headlines in the 1990s when the national team usually finished in the top five of Olympic Games, World and European Championships. In the following years, the squad was mostly led by Anita Görbicz, the best known and most successful Hungarian player.

But as Görbicz has retired from the national team, and as leading player Zsuzsanna Tomori is out with an injury, one of Görbicz’s former pupils will take up the role of leading the young and talented, but yet unexperienced, national team at the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in France.

Anikó Kovacsics, nicknamed ‘Misi,’ was born in Nagyatád, a town close to the Croatian border, where she also started her professional career. After just one year, she joined Györi Audi ETO KC. Playing mostly as centre back and left wing, she was believed to be ‘the new Anita Görbicz.’

Kovacsics learnt just as quickly as she finished counter attacks. Görbicz, the team captain, soon realised the potential, not only in her game style but also in her personality, and took Kovacsics under her wings.

“As I got to know ‘Misike,’ she is a great teammate. We have played together for many years in the same position,” Görbicz says.

“Even in the beginning of her career, Anikó was zealous and hardworking. She was always there where she needed to be. I hope I could help her a lot,” Görbicz adds. “Also her outstanding talent contributed to becoming the person who she is right now. She is a real leader of her club and the national team.”

Görbicz and Kovacsics were teammates at Györ for not less than 10 years. In 2016, after winning the domestic league seven times, the Hungarian cup eight times and the Women’s EHF Champions League twice, Kovacsics left Györ - even though she is still playing in green and white, at FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria.

Kovacsics made her national team debut in 2009, and won a bronze medal at the EHF EURO 2012. In France, she will enter her first EHF EURO as the team captain.

“She is the captain as Zsuzsanna Tomori is injured,” Hungary coach Kim Rasmussen says.

The head coach is full of praise for Kovacsics, calling her “the engine of our squad” for her pace-setting quality in attack.

“A real key player for us and with her it is easy to create a well working team,” Rasmussen says. “Kovacsics is the person in our side who can decide matches, a real warrior. In defence she is one of the best in the world with a 6-0 line as her playing style is very aggressive, therefore she forces many turnovers and finishes the counter attacks.”

According to the coach, Kovacsics is also important to the team to help the younger players.

“She is really close to them. She understands what it means to lead a whole team,” Rasmussen says.

Kovacsics is also impressing off the court. When Adrienn Szalkai, a young player and huge fan of Kovacsics, got seriously injured during a local handball match last week, the star player did not hesitate for a minute and went to see her in hospital.

Kovacsics is now experienced enough to teach the new generation and show them the right path. The spine of the national team will be formed by players from the national under-20 squad, which won the Women’s World Junior Championship in July.

Therefore, Kovacsics is not only important as a scorer and team captain, but also as a leader and as the bridge to the young athletes for a newly successful Hungarian national team.


TEXT: Bela Müller / ew / ts
 
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