Women’s EHF Cup countdown: Part 9: Rostov-Don (RUS)
With a new coach, the trophy is the goal
Their hopes in the Women’s EHF Champions League were set extremely high, but the road to the FINAL4 in Budapest ended much earlier than expected. After only one win in six group matches, the Russian powerhouse, Rostov-Don, were eliminated from the competition in the group of death, facing Bucuresti, Györ and Midtjylland.
The extremely bolstered Champions League quarter-finalists from last season were hit hard. Including their top transfer, Olympic Games MVP Anna Vyakhireva, six of Rostov’s players became Olympic champions with Russia in Rio: Anna Sedoikina, Anna Sen, Vladlena Bobrovnikova, Ekaterina Ilina and Maya Petrova. In addition, Rostov have the Rio silver medalist Siraba Dembele (France, new from Vardar) and bronze medalist Katrine Lunde (Norway) on their squad. The only bad news was the injury of goalkeeper Anna Sedoikina in Rio, who is still out until the end of the year. Now, Maria Basarab (Kuban Krasnodar) will replace her.
Rostov could not stand the pressure. In December, the club announced to go separate ways with their Danish born coach, Jan Leslie. At the end of the month, Leslie’s successor was found in France: Frederic Bougeant, who steered Fleury to the French title, as well as the Champions League, and had also coached the Senegalese women’s national team. Bougeant will see a familiar face, as his former Fleury top star, Spaniard Alexandrina Cabral, joined Rostov last summer.
His ambitions are high, even though he knows that the clock is ticking. “We have to prepare in a short time and the key is more stability,” Bougeant says. He adds, “In the EHF Cup, we were drawn in a very strong group. ÉRD are a strong and stable team, Bietigheim is a serious project with big ambitions and Byasen have several players who just became EURO champions. But, we will produce six serious fights to proceed in the next stage. I will do everything possible to meet the expectations of fans and bring the team to a new level.”
Rostov faced ERD in the EHF Cup semi-final in the 2014/15 season, when Rostov made it to the finals. In general and after the disappointment in the Champions League, it is the clear goal of Rostov to win the first edition of the newly merged competition.
Newcomers: Lotte Grigel (Team Esbjerg), Anna Vyakhireva (Astrakhanochka), Olga Chernoivanenko (Vardar), Siraba Dembele (Vardar), Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa (Fleury Loiret HB), Ana-Paula Rodrigues-Belo (CSM București), Maria Basarab (Kuban)
Left the club: Marina Sudakova (Kuban), Anna Punko (Debreceni VSC), Oxana Kisileva (Odense), Regina Shimkute (pregnant), Ekaterina Davydenko, Elena Avdekova, Marina Skladchikova
EHF Champions League records:
TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm
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