As Ukraine play a mini-tournament in Turkey, finding the right team for the World Championship Play-Offs is pivotal for the women's team's head coach
Goalkeeper situation worries Ratner
Leonid Ratner, head coach of the Ukrainian women’s national team, and his assistant, Georgy Voronov, have named a 16-player strong squad for a handball tournament in Turkey which sees Ukraine facing the hosts on Thursday (21 March) and Slovenia on Friday (22 March).
For Ratner, the 75-year-old mastermind of Ukrainian handball, it is a chance to see his strongest players perform ahead of the play-off matches for the 2013 World Championship against Germany which will take place on 2 June in Oldenburg, Germany, and on 9 June in Kiev, Ukraine.
Before heading to Turkey, Ratner and Voronov had gathered their players, three debutants among them, for a five-day training camp near Kiev.
On the other hand, twelve of the players selected already formed part of the team that played at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia, but failed to make it past the group stage.
Unfortunately, one of the debutants, Anastasiya Rakytina who plays club handball for Spartak, had to leave the camp due to a stomach bug and therefore has to postpone her debut for Ukraine.
After the disappointing campaign in Serbia, two goalkeepers, Maryna Vlasenko and Viktoriya Tymoshenkova, perpetually gained less match time at their clubs, Russian sides Astrakhanochka and Dinamo, and therefore have not been nominated this time.
In Turkey it’s therefore the time to shine for debutant goalkeeper Nataliya Gaiovych, who plays for Ukrainian domestic champions, Karpaty.
“I have selected Nataliya Gaiovych to test her skills under real match conditions. However, I am upset about the current goalkeeper situation as there isn't a third suitable goalkeeper on the horizon for the play-offs in June,” Ratner said.
Tatyana Bilenia celebrates a comeback after she had been called for the national team for the first time six years ago.
“First of all we expect the help of Tatyana Bilenia as a central defender. In attack we will try her on back court position.”
Two more Ukrainian EHF EURO 2012 players are not part of the squad for Turkey as Olga Vashchuk is still recovering from a surgery and experienced playmaker Viktoriia Tsybulenko has not been nominated because of Ratner’s decision to give some younger players more playing time.
“The matches in Turkey are a good opportunity to check our team play as well as various defence schemes. The final result at this tournament is not the most important for us,” said Ratner.
The Ukraine squad for the tournament in Turkey is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Nataliya Parkhomenko (Kuban, RUS), Nataliya Gaiovych (Karpaty);
TEXT: Igor Grachov / ts
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