Men’s EHF Cup countdown - part 13: The club from the Spanish city of Pamplona is certain that the learning curve it went through last season pays off this time around
Helvetia Anaitasuna enter group phase with plenty of ambitions
Helvetia Anaitasuna, the team from the Spanish city of Pamplona, have reached the EHF Cup Group Phase for the second time in a row.
After their campaign ended at this stage in the 2015/16 season, they hope to make it one step further and reach at least the quarter-finals this season.
The squad of coach Juan Tomas Apecetxea became a little more international by including Brazilian Gabriel Ceretta and Swede Henrik Nordlander ahead of the season.
Filipe Mota from Portugal and Bozidar Nadoveza complete the international quartet playing for Anaitasuna.
In Group D, the Spanish side will face MT Melsungen from Germany, Cocks from Finland and S.L. Benfica from Portugal.
“We will try to fight for the second position in this group,” says coach Apecetxea. “Melsungen are the strongest team, the three remaining sides are very equal and all have the skills to finish second.
“Cocks have ten foreign players and a strong team. Benfica have very powerful defenders and a very good goalkeeper: Hugo Figueira.”
Apecetxea, who regards the four German teams and Saint-Raphael Var Handball as the competition’s main favourites, is looking forward to playing the group phase for the second time in a row with Anaitasuna.
“Our team can be more ambitious after the experience of last season. We know now what to do in important moments. The second participation is a new step for us,” he says.
Helvetia Anaitasuna (ESP)
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 3: 27:21, 26:30 against Csurgoi KK (HUN)
Newcomers: Henrik Nordlander (Skovde, SWE), Mikel Aguirrezabalaga (Ademar León), Erik Balenciaga (Teucro), Oswaldo Maestro (Villa de Aranda), Gabriel Ceretta (FC Barcelona B, BRA)
Left the club: Gregor Lorger (RK Nexe), Alex Costoya (Ademar León), Juan Castro (US Creteil), Jorge Silva (Granollers), Álvaro del Valle (Nice, FRA), Ángel Pérez, (Puerto Sagunto)
Team captains: Miguel Goñi and Carlos Chocarro
Other EC Cup records
Group Phase: 2015/16
Spanish champions: n/a
Spanish cup winners: n/a
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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