Duenas wants Spain to build on previous success
Jorge Duenas, the coach of the Spanish women’s national team, is set to start to work today in Pinto (Madrid), in order to tune up things for the Carpathian Trophy, to be played in Romania between 22 and 24 March.
Preparing the squad for the World Championships in Serbia this December, the trainer has introduced a total of eight new players, including five rookies: Ana Isabel Martinez, Lara González, Silvia and Tiddara Ederra Trojaola, and María Muñoz.
Marta Lopez returns to the Spanish team, after being in the bronze medal winning team at the 2012 Olympics, and in the case of Beatriz and Mireia Gonzalez Escribano, both already made their debut and, in fact, were called up by Dueñas to a training camp in Andorra last summer to prepare the Olympics.
eurohandball.com took the opportunity to interview the Basque coach about the past and the future of a group of players who now have a tough job to continue the good results from the previous competitions.
eurohandball.com: How is the daily life of a coach when there is no international competition on the horizon?
Jorge Duenas: In my case I combine my coach activity with that of a Physical Education (PE) teacher, so I'm always busy.
At work, with the team, I am always watching games, both from the Spanish league and European competition of all players that I currently have in the squad and even new players that we must keep monitored.
eurohandball.com: There are many changes in the list for the tournament? Are these tests or the beginning of a small generational change?
Jorge Duenas: Well a bit of both. On the one hand we have some players who are injured or with a heavy load of games, but the truth is that you need to be integrating new players because it is necessary that some will take this opportunity and take their first steps at this level.
eurohandball.com: 11 of the 16 players are active in foreign leagues. Is that an advantage or a handicap for a coach?
Jorge Duenas: To follow them on a continuous basis is more complicated than normal, but their handball level is a big plus regarding quality. Our (Spanish) league is less professional right now and the opportunity for them to train and perform with dedication is very complicated.
eurohandball.com: What is the goal for women's handball in the short/medium term at a national team scale, based on your expectations?
Jorge Duenas: The biggest problem right now is to keep the level that was achieved in the past. In the short term it will be to place in the World Championship in Serbia and also replace certain players that will be shortly retiring (in 1-2 seasons).
We must take into account that it is difficult to make changes at national level with the intensity not being affected.
eurohandball.com: And what do you expect as a coach for the girls at the club level?
Jorge Duenas: That the players can go back to a certain “professionalism” without having to compete outside of our country. The situation is complicated by the economic circumstances.
There should be more intense activity with young girls so we can receive scout talented players continuously. Women's sport is not perceived the same way in the eyes of the viewer as the men’s ones, and this is a cultural problem in Spain.
eurohandball.com: What have meant all the recent successes for women handball for the coach, the federation, for the sport?
Jorge Duenas: It has brought a high degree of awareness to people at the general public level, especially the London Olympic medal.
Those who are in close contact with women’s handball already know it exists but in any case we need more television exposure and more sponsors.
For instance, the nickname of the warriors (set before the Olympics) was great and the players transmitted that feeling back to the fans.
eurohandball.com: And what does it mean for the women that the World Championship title was recently won by the men’s team?
Jorge Duenas: It is good that the guys are world champions and the girls bronze in London.
But most importantly, handball news must be in the media, which will lead to more children starting to practice handball, which in the end is what we all want.
Spanish squad for the Carpathian trophy:
Goalkeepers: Cristina Gonzalez (CLEBA), María Muñoz (U.S. Mios), Silvia Navarro (CS Oltchim Valcea)
Left wing: Tiddara Trojaola (ACE Ro'Casa Gran Canaria)
Left backs: Alexandrina Barbosa Cabral (CS Oltchim Valcea), Beatriz Fernandez (CJF Fleury Loiret), Eli Chavez (OGC Nice), Lara Gonzalez (Metz HB) and Patricia Elorza (Bera Bera)
Centre back: Beatriz Escribano (OGC Nice)
Right backs: Ana Isabel Martinez (BM Elche Mustang), Marta Mangue (CJF Flury Loiret) and Mireya Gonzalez (U.S. Mios)
Right wings: Carmen Martin (RK Krim Mercator), Marta Lopez (CJF Fleury Loiret)
Line player: Silvia Ederra (Bera Bera)
The team will be heading to Romania on March 21 and their tournament schedule is as follows:
Germany - Spain
22 March 2013
Romania 'B' - Spain
23 March 2013
Romania 'A' - Spain
24 March 2013
TEXT: Francisco Miranda / cor