Slovakia in a good mood after tournament in Leiria
Slovakia have won the International handball tournament of Leiria in Portugal after three convincing victories over Norway’s reserve team, the hosts from Portugal and Spanish first division club Balonmano Porriño.
The tournament took place in the Portuguese town of Leiria. Slovakia used it as part of preparations for their World Championship play-off match in June against Romania.
“The tournament was very well organised and we are satisfied with our participation there. Four different handball styles have been presented in Leiria and I think it was useful confrontation for all the teams.
“Everything ran well, matches, trainings, conditions we prepared at - we took home lot of positives and it was a great, new experience for some players in our team,” coach Peter Sabadka told eurohandball.com.
The Slovakian team had their ups and downs, but always managed to keep things under control. The best game, according to coach Sabadka, came on the first day of the tournament, when Slovakia beat Norway, after very concentrated and compact display throughout the whole match.
“The win against Norway is precious for us. It was our best match in the tournament. We played well in defence against strong attacking side, were very effective in offense and our key players proved their qualities.
“We played with the core of a team that we are counting on, for the play-off against Romania.”
The second match with Portugal was a good test against a team creating lot of pressure in defence, applying lot of risks in their game and playing counter attacks.
Despite their good start, Slovakia let the hosts get close, but they were able to control the end of the game and win 23:20.
“Portugal play a 1-2-3 defence, which is quite unusual for us to cope with.
“It was exciting for us to meet such team in an international match. We gave chance to all the players in this match, tried to divide time on the court equally to all.”
The final match against Spanish first division club, Balonmano Porriño, was a good opportunity to give court time to players that were not used as much in the first two games, with the tournament victory already in Slovakia’s hands.
“We rested our key players like Jakubisová, Rebičová, Tóthová and Horňáková. The collective display pleased us, with Súkenníková and Szarková leading our scoring with almost half of our goals.
“Generally speaking, we can be satisfied with the whole tournament. It was a good test and boost before the next phase of preparations.”
“The team was together for a week, which will prove to be important at this stage of preparations.
“I follow all of the players, all year round. We adapt our trainings according to their abilities, we know how the players perform in the club, in what form they come to the national team, what their strengths and their limits are.
“It is important to get most of them and I think we have succeeded in this aspect in Leiria,” explained Sabadka.
The play-off matches for the World Championship will be played in June. Peter Sabadka and Lenka Černá have a detailed plan, how they will prepare their players for the most important battle of the year for the Slovakian national team.
“At first, we have to wait for the national competitions to end, there are some crucial league games coming ahead.
“Afterwards, we are preparing the first camp, where we will concentrate on regeneration and getting all the players fit and fresh, before we start the final preparation for the matches against Romania.
“Then we plan to give the players some days off to have a good rest and clear their mind from all the handball stuff from their clubs before we jump into the final preparation phase with full steam and enthusiasm,” concluded Sabadka.
Results of the International tournament in Leiria:
Friday 22nd March
Norway ‘B’ – Slovakia 23:28
Portugal – Porriño 42:24
Saturday 23rd March
Porriño – Norway ‘B’ 17:33
Slovakia – Portugal 23:20
Sunday 24th March
Portugal – Norway ‘B’ 21:26
Slovakia - Porriño 39:22
TEXT: Tomáš Čunčík / cor