“We can achieve everything”Article
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Despite injuries, the Romanian Oltchim Valcea is optimistic: they want to win four titles next season - read the Valcea story.

“We can achieve everything”

Valcea players smiling at the Cup Winners' Cup - finally they took it homeWhat does the Croatian men’s club RK CO Zagreb and the Romanian women’s club Oltchim Valcea have in common? Both are a class of their own in their respective national league, both aim high in the Champions League, both have good sponsors – and both teams called the best domestic players back where they belong. The difference: Zagreb has more traditions, while Oltchim have just gone through great development in the last two years.

Looking at all the big tournaments of youth and junior national teams, the Romanian girls have always been among the top teams. Due to financial reasons, however, most of them went abroad, especially to Denmark.

The most successful club on an international level was Zilcotub Zalau under the coaching of Gheorge Tadici. The legendary coach stayed on the bench for nearly 30 years. Nowadays he is not so popular in Zalau – just because he changed clubs.

Getting the stars back

Valentina Elisei is one of the top scorers in the teamIn 2005, Tadici was also appointed national coach of Romania and caused huge surprise at the World Championship in St. Petersburg. Without the big star Carmen Lungu, Romania won silver medal after suffering defeat from Russia in the final.

At the same time, Oltchim – sponsored by a big chemical company – started to persuade players to return. Many of them did, such as Steluta Luca, Valentina Elisei and the famous goalkeeper Luminita Dinu (formerly playing under the name Hutupan). Dinu and Elisei were in the WCh all-star team in 2005.

One piece missing in this puzzle was the coach, so Oltchim signed not only national players but also the national coach – still in 2006. Oltchim reached the highest top a club can reach already in the first year: the team of coach Gheorghe Tadici won every single match in the Romanian competitions last season. Oltchim remained unbeaten for 26 league games and three national Cup matches. This wasn’t all. To finish the season perfectly, Oltchim won the Cup Winners’ Cup final against Norwegian Byasen Trondheim.

Titles, titles, titles

Tadici in the background directing the teamNow the club is aiming high for the forthcoming season – not only in their country, but on an international level too. The objectives are clear: winning everything. This includes Romanian Championship, Romanian Cup, Champions Trophy and the Champions League as well.

However, especially the last two competitions mean a lot of work for the Romanians: on 22-23 September, Valcea will be the host of the EHF Champions Trophy. The other participants will be Slagelse/ CL winner, Zvenigorod Zvezda/ EHF Cup winner and Togliatti/ runner-up in the CL.

“Playing against such great teams is like a dream come true for us and a confirmation of the value of our team”, says Tadici.

Only one week later, more important matches are coming up for the team – even though here no title can be won. Valcea are not qualified directly for the Champions League, but they are the hosts of the qualification tournament against Byasen Trondheim, Madeira (Portugal) and the winner of the first round qualification tournament.

Steluta Luca played very well last season, Valcea will miss her experience“Nobody will forgive us if we lose this chance to play in Europe’s most importantcompetition next season. Especially that we play the games in front of our supporters,” admits Tadici.

Luca missing

Some injuries could endanger the project. The captain of the national team, Steluta Luca, will be out of action for about six months due to an old back injury. Key players, such as Valentina Elisei, Ramona Maier and Roxana Cherascu are also injured.

Coach Tadici knows that the season is long and he keeps his optimism:

“Despite these short or long term injuries, I’m still confident that we can achieve everything next season.”

And everything means everything…

The girls who want to keep on winning every single game

TEXT: Björn Pazen