The Russian mastermindArticle
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Evgeni Trefilov, a name meaning success not only for Zvezda Zvenigorod - read the portray by Björn Pazen.

The Russian mastermind

The mastermind of Russian handball is even more successful than coaching legend, Vladimir Maximov. Evgeni Trefilov (57) is the coach of CL finalist Zvezda Zvenigorod and simultaneously the coach of the Russian national team.

The coaching career of Trefilov, who was a national player himself, started in the club of Kuban Krasnodar in Southern Russia.

Coach Trefilov next to Viborg's PopovicLater he was the assistant coach of Maximov in the Russian men’s national team. In 2000 he joined Lada Togliatti and brought back the glamour of Russian women’s handball.

Lada, with Trefilov in charge, won five domestic championships and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. All the talented youngsters were trained in Togliatti where Russia started a very successful youth program – all under the surveillance of Trefilov.

“Mister Lada” was also appointed national coach of the women in 2000. His first big success was the world championship title in 2001. Many players went abroad following this, but return after Trefilov went to coach Zvezda.

With winning three World Championship titles and a silver and bronze medal at the European championships in the last seven years, Trefilov is the most successful coach in women’s handball.

And he’s also known as a very loud coach, especially when he shouts from the bench motivating his players.

However, this “Russian bear” can be quite different when he leaves the court. He gives all the possible help to his players and the players like him very much.

Trefilov built a great ZvezdaTrefilov has his own ideas about success:

“I don’t like democracy in sports, because there must be someone who has the responsibility. In Russia I’m the one, so I say what the players should do. If we fail, I’m guilty because I’m the responsible,” he said in an interview.

And by seeing Trefilov on the bench, you could think a volcano is about to erupt. He always gesticulates, shouts and screams until he loses his voice. The coach commentates nearly every movement of his team, but success shows that Trefilov is right.

“I don’t want to lose a match” and “Discipline is the most important thing” are two of the favourite slogans of Trefilov.

The matches against Hypo will be the first CL finals of his career. However, there is also reason for concern: Trefilov had to be operated recently and he was told to stay in hospital. The coach left the hospital at own risk to attend the second leg of the Russian finals –lost against his former club Lada. All the players now hope that the “real star of Zvezda” will be healthy and help his team in the finals.

TEXT: Björn Pazen