"To enjoy and to learn"Article
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Brazilian goalkeeper Jacqueline Oliveira Santana talks about the secret of Toulon's success.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Women's News

"To enjoy and to learn"

At 30 years of age, the Brazilian international goalkeeper Jacqueline Oliveira Santana is the eldest and most experienced player at Toulon Saint Cyr Var Handball. The French champions are enjoying the fruits of their hard work – playing in their very first CL season.

ehfCL.com: You arrived in France last season from the Spanish league. How do you feel in Toulon?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: I feel great here, as it’s almost like being at home in Brazil. Although the language is still a problem, I’ve adapted well. We have a young and promising team and an excellent working environment, and I’m satisfied with all of that. Naturally, many things could be better and will be better, but the truth is that Toulon has the potential for becoming one of the best handball clubs in Europe.

ehfCL.com: Last season you did a great job by winning the French Championship. Wasn’t is a surprise for you?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: When we started last season, we had many young players without experience and for us to enter the French Championship play-off was great achievement. Everybody underestimated us. Then we eliminated Nîmes, Metz and finally Le Havre. Only we know how we did it. But we believed in ourselves and that is the only way to go.

ehfCL.com: What is the situation in the French Championship at this moment?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: Now, we are two points behind Nîmes and Metz, but our next home match will be against Metz. It will be a very important match. For sure, there are many equal teams who can win the trophy, so it will be a very exciting season until the very last round.

ehfCL.com: You’ve won the French Championship for the first time and now you’re a debutant in the CL - what are your goals for this season?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: Playing in the CL is the reward for everything we did in last season. There are no other objectives than to enjoy fruits of our hard work and to use these strong matches to learn and improve. This season in the French Championship there will be no play-off, so the champion will be the team with most points. I hope we will successfully defend our crown.

ehfCL.com: In first two rounds you played against the two favourites in Group C – Larvik and Oltchim. How do you reflect on those matches?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: I couldn't play in the first match because of a nose fracture. Recuperation was long so I missed three French Championship matches and one CL match. So, I watched the Larvik match from the audience. Our coach advised us to enjoy the moment of playing against one of the best teams in Europe, and my team did so. I was particularly impressed by Cecilie Leganger, who is my favourite goalkeeper.

The match we played in Vâlcea was more difficult because we were playing away which reflected on the final result. Both Larvik and Oltchim have many excellent and experienced players. Both of them, and Randers, are all great teams. Playing against such strong rivals we will help us to improve as players and also as a team.

ehfCL.com: On Saturday you’ll be playing in Denmark. What do you expect from this match?

Jacqueline Oliveira Santana: I think we learned a lot from the first two matches and we hope to show improvement against Randers. They are a great team, but if we play to our best, then maybe we can trouble them.

TEXT: Ivan Ambroš