FEATURE: As title contenders, the Hungarian side is widely regarded as favourites in the Women’s EHF Cup Quarter-final against Storhamar - and Siófok's Norwegian coach Tor Advar Moen is fine with that
Coach Moen enjoys Siófok’s role as favourites
Ask handball fans who they think will win the Women’s EHF Cup this year, and the answer will be “Siófok KC” a lot of times.
The Hungarian side is regarded by many as a serious candidate to lift the trophy in May. No wonder they are also a favourite when they take on Storhamar Handball Elite in the quarter-final. The first leg in Norway is scheduled for Sunday 3 March at 18:00 CET (live on ehfTV.com).
"Some teams are afraid of being favourites. We are not"
Siófok’s Norwegian head coach Tor Odvar Moen has no problem with the favourites’ role.
“The fact that others make you favourites is a simple proof that they think you are good, and you should always take that as a compliment,” Moen says. “Some people and teams are afraid of being favourites. We are not.”
Moen is aware that Siófok’s results in the group phase, where they won all six matches in Group B, have only added to the general idea that the Hungarian side could go all the way this season.
Siófok’s strong showing this season no surprise
“I understand the people who see us as favourites very well,” he says. “Our performances in the group phase have been really satisfactory, and they have given us reason to be optimistic. However, I think a team like Team Esbjerg look very strong too, and the title may very well be decided between these two clubs.”
Siófok’s strong showing this season has not come as a surprise. With a reinforced squad, the club announced that winning the EHF Cup was one of their major goals for the season.
“But I would not call it a disappointment if we do not win the competition after all,” says Moen, who was seen as ‘Mr. Larvik’ after spending more than 20 years in various functions with the Norwegian club.
A great learning process
Last summer, Moen made the switch from Larvik to Siófok.
“Being a coach here in Siófok has been a great learning process for me, and at the same time, it has been great to work with players on such a high level, as the players have here,” the Norwegian says. “Siófok have been a great club to join, but there have also been some challenges as we have a very international team with players from many different countries who all have to work together.”
Moen is set to return to his native Norway this Sunday, when Siófok take on Storhamar in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.
For the coach, however, it will “not really be anything special” to go back to Norway.
No kind of 'wow' experience
“It will not be any kind of ‘wow’ experience to me,” he says. “I have visited many places during our EHF Cup campaign so far, and among other places, I have been in Denmark and Sweden. In that respect, going to Norway again will not be particularly special to me.”
While Siófok might start the match as favourites, Moen speaks full of respect about Storhamar, which are currently ranked second in the Norwegian league.
“In the qualifiers they eliminated the strong Hungarian team of ÉRD, and in the group phas they managed to keep Bietigheim behind them,” Moen says. “Such achievements call for respect. We may be favourites, but we are not going to defeat Storhamar if we are any less than 100 per cent.”
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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