Building the team of the futureArticle
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A modest and successful coach, Talant Dujshebaev, tells which teams are likely to reach the FINAL4.

Building the team of the future

Who laughs last, laughs the longest – this motto was valid for the last Champions League season. Even of THW Kiel won the first leg of the finals 39:34, Ciudad Real raised the trophy for the third time after 2006 and 2008.

However, since then a lot of things changed in Ciudad Real. Six top players left the club, three new arrived and the squad was reduced. This is no problem for coach Talant Dujshebaev. “I only look at the future, not at the past,” the 41 years old coach said in an interview with before the start of the new season.

'I make mistakes' How deeply is Ciudad Real affected by the finance crisis?

Dujshebaev: The whole world is affected, whole Spain, the whole sports, handball, football – it’s not a good time right now. We are affected, too, but I’m optimistic that we can cope with the crisis. In this case, how important is your main sponsor and president, Domingo de Mera for the club?

Dujshebaev: I’m very pleased with this president and I’m thankful. He does his job well, he has his role at the club, I have mine. Nobody ever had any problem with our president. Rutenka, Stefansson, Urios, Laen, Pajovic, Zorman – six top players have left the club after the last season. Is your current team still comparable to last season’s team?

Dujshebaev: We have a new team, that’s right. But I never look into the past, only at the future. So I don’t mind any comparison. Every player, who was in Ciudad Real, played a great role in raising the club to the top. Everybody gave his 100 percent contribution. Now we have new players and all have the same importance in my plans. Is it going to be the biggest transition period in your times at Ciudad Real?

Dujshebaev: No, though we only planned letting three players go. The transfer of Siarhei Rutenka to Barcelona was a surprise to me, but we couldn’t do anything as the offer of Barcelona was huge. If a player wants to leave the club, you can’t hold him back – this makes no sense. Now we only have players in our team who are absolutely willing to play for Ciudad Real and want to take responsibility. Evdokimov, Aguinagalde, Canellas - in contrast to former years these new players are not “big names”. What’s your impression of them?

Dujshebaev: I’m very satisfied. It means always a lot of work for a new player to learn our playing system. It’s a big advantage for our two new Spanish players that they don’t have any language problem. Evdokimov needs time to learn. But we’ll count on all of them, we give them the time to integrate and we’re patient. Last season Ciudad Real won the Spanish championships and the Champions League – are these two titles again the objective for the upcoming season?

Dujshebaev: Like every year we want to win every match and every title – but currently we’re starting from zero. So we start with zero points and wait what will happen. For the first time ever the Champions League will be decided in a FINAL4 tournament. Which teams will play in Cologne at the end of the season?

Dujshebaev: The top of the Champions League became wider; the competition is as balanced as never before. Up to ten teams can reach the FINAL4 – Kiel, Hamburg, Barcelona, Ciudad Real, Montpellier, Rhein Neckar Löwen or Veszprém. The decisive part of the competition will be the quarterfinal when some favourites will eliminate each other. Ciudad Real won the Champions League in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Is your club going the same way as Barcelona in the 19990’s, when they played the dominant role in Europe’s club competitions?

Dujshebaev: We would be glad if we could start such an era of success. Barcelona is our idol. But look at the role Kiel plays in Germany: they’re great, too! And we want to be like them. It’s a great honour for us, to be in this circle of world class teams. Some experts say that you’re currently the best handball coach in the world. Do you agree?

Dujshebaev: The best and the most important figures in handball are the players, not the coaches. I’m still a young coach and I make lot of mistakes. Spain and Germany fight for the number one position “best league in the world“. You played in Germany and Spain, now you’re coaching a Spanish club. Would it be attractive for you to coach a German club in the future?

Dujshebaev: I spent four great years in Germany, where I was completely satisfied. Inside there’s still a fire burning and maybe I will return to Germany someday. The referee problems were in the focus of attention last CL season. Did things change international handball?

Dujshebaev: Something had to be changed and the way the EHF is treating this subject now, is a good way. Referees are separated from the clubs before the matches, and this is good for the sport. The organisation is better now.

TEXT: Björn Pazen