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24.01.2019, 11:30
Kanor: ‘When the Champions League’s here, the festive season’s over’
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INTERVIEW: Metz left back Orlane Kanor is still riding high on her first EHF EURO title but is eager to restart the Women's EHF Champions League season
 

Kanor: ‘When the Champions League’s here, the festive season’s over’

Orlane Kanor was one of the revelations of the EHF EURO last year. At only 21, her jumping abilities bewildered both fans and specialists, and she was a key asset for France when it came to winning the tournament.

Even though she had won the World Championship with her national team the year before, this European crown was special for her.

“Winning it at home, in front of my family, I can say it meant more than anything else,” she recalls.

Since then, she has barely had time to rest. Her club, Metz Handball, resumed its season in Brest between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and you might wonder if Kanor had any time to actually enjoy her title.

“I did,” she confirms. “We went to meet with the French president on the day after the final, then we had some family time over the Christmas period. It all went very fast, but I had time to realise what had been happening.”

And it seems like the French clubs Metz have been visiting since the EHF EURO were kind enough to help them celebrate.

“They’ve been offering us all kinds of presents. This week in Dijon, they treated us with some food and a bottle of wine. I’ll have to start renting a cellar if things carry on like that,” Kanor laughs.

Metz lifted by European title

If the Russian players and their clubs, including Rostov-Don, had to resume their domestic duties only four days after the EHF EURO final, the gap was a little longer for Metz, with almost two weeks of rest. And their comeback on the courts was a fierce one as they beat Brest, the other French club taking part in the Women’s Champions League this season.

“It feels like some of us are really lifted by the European title at the moment. We are individually playing very well and of course, it’s easier for the team to perform in those conditions,” says Kanor.

But now, they are back to even more serious business as Metz will play Rostov-Don in the first round of the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round. This game will almost be a re-match of the EHF EURO final, as 10 Rostov-Don players and eight Metz players faced each other in the AccorHotels Arena in Paris less than a month ago.

“I hope they don’t see it that way,” laughs Kanor, before expressing her excitement about starting the European campaign again with her club.

“You always want to play against the best sides in Europe, this is how you progress. Even though we’ve played against some of the Rostov players a lot of times already, we’re still learning some new things,” she adds.

Metz have had a very good start in their Champions League campaign this season and they have already bagged five points. In a group with former FINAL4 contenders Rostov-Don and Buducnost, they are aiming for a minimum of second place, just like they did last season. The final goal would be, in the end, to improve on last season’s performance.

“It left us a little bit frustrated, we’d played very well all season but we stumbled on the last hurdle. This is where you see that the Champions League really is the best competition in the world. We missed one game, against CSM Bucuresti, and we had no chances left,” Kanor recalls.

One thing is certain, though, for Orlane Kanor. The first Champions League match in 2019 for Metz Handball will mark the end of the festive season. “This is the end of the bottles of wine!” she laughs.


TEXT: Kevin Domas/jh
 
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