Women’s EHF Cup countdown: Part 6: Kuban Krasnodar (RUS)
With Trefilov at the helm, Kuban aim high
Nearly none of the current group phase participants have such a long tradition of being part of European Cup competitions like Kuban. The team of legendary Russian national team coach, Evgenii Trefilov, are taking part in their 16th international season since 1995, highlighted as the Cup Winners’ Cup Finalist in 2000. Except for Serbian international, Kristina Liszevic, the huge squad of Kuban consists only of Russian players - including five Rio 2016 Olympic champions.
Most of them arrived from 2016 champions Astrakhanochka and joined Trefilov, as he returned back to where his coaching career began (including four gold medals at World Championships). In total, 14 new players joined Kuban, including new team captain and Olympic champion, Polina Kuznetsova, who missed the EURO in Sweden due to an injury.
As usual, Trefilov’s goals are quite straight-forward. “We want to win any match in any competition. But, all of the remaining teams in the EHF Cup are strong, as the weak have been eliminated already.”
Kuban were drawn in a tough Group B, facing Leipzig, Brest and Fehervar. “All our opponents in the group are very experienced and strong. With that being said, we will try to come out on top,” says Trefilov, who succeeds former coach, Dmitriy Karlov, and shares the job with Alexander Revva.
After claiming gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Kuban alongside Trefilov won all six qualification matches on their way to the group phase, including two victories against the Champions League record winners, Hypo Niederösterreich, in Round 3.
Now Trefilov expects a “prestigious competition, in which we have guaranteed six more games against strong opponents, which will be part of the development process for the future.” Besides a new coach and 14 new players, Kuban also has a new manager, Sergei Kalmykov, a new arena called ‘Olymp’ and the team will get a new mascot.
Kuban Krasnodar (RUS)
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 1: 36:24, 31:24 against Ionias (GRE), Round 2: 35:23, 38:28 against Spono Eagles (SUI), Round 3: 29:23, 32:26 against Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT).
Newcomers: Irina Antonova, Nataliya Danshina, Valentina Goncharova, Olga Gorshenina, Viktoriia Kalinina, Oxana Koroleva, Polina Kuznetsova, Kristina Liscevic, Ekaterina Marennikova, Victoria Samarskaya, Marina Sudakova, Yana Uskova, Viktoriya Zhilinskayte, Yana Zhilinskayte
Left the club: Irina Trezno, Olesya Cifka, Irina Smirnova, Maria Basarab, Ekaterina Artamonova, Natalia Vasilevskaya
Coach: Evgenii Trefilov and Alexander Revva (since 2016; former coach: Dmitriy Karlov)
Team captain: Polina Kuznetsova
Russian champion: 2 times (1989, 1992)
TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm
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