"We were the best team in the world!”Article
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FEATURE: Beata Siti was one of the main Dunaferr heroines in their victorious 1998/99 campaign in the European top flight.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Women's News

"We were the best team in the world!”

In the latest edition of the "Legends of the Women’s EHF Champions League” Beáta Siti, playmaker of Champions League winning 1999 Dunaferr team recalls the toughest games of the season, some memorable moments. Siti, who won the EURO in 2000 and was voted player of the tournament claims winning the Champions League was the greatest achievement of her handball career.

A gang of friends

"By 1999 that Dunaferr team had been playing together for three years, had won two EHF Cups and some Hungarian silverware, too," said Siti, who spent the last two years as assistant coach of the Hungarian national team.

"Though we had a tremendous lineup with players like Bojana Radulovic, Erzsébet Kocsis or Beáta Bohus our most important strength was the mutual understanding within the team, which was based on friendship.”

"That entire season was thrilling. We lost Radulovic to injury for most of the year, but went on to win a lot of important games. The most memorable was against Hypo in the semi-final. We lost 24:20 in Vienna but managed to beat them in Dunaújváros with exactly the same margin. It was the first time we played in the brand new ice hall in front of 5,000 fans and everybody went crazy when we won the penalty shootout.”

"The final was equally tense, we played a good game at home against Ljubljana, but something went wrong in the last minutes and the Slovenians managed to come back to two goals. Everybody was afraid throwing away a possible great win would effect the second leg, but by then we became emotionally so charged and so self-confident that we finally won the tournament with an away draw.

Biggest achievement of my life

"Coach Gyula Zsiga managed to build a team of a lot of leaders. There were fears of hierarchy issues and questions of authority also rose but it’s only natural when you have such world class players. Zsiga let the players settle their issues and concentrated on tactics and our physical condition and in the end we grew to be almost unbeatable," said Siti, who works in the management of Fehérvár KC, present semi-finalist of the EHF Cup.

"Yes, I am a European champion from 2000 but the biggest achievement of my career was winning the Champions League. It is a totally different thing: at the national team you get together for a couple of days in a year but you spend your entire season with your club. It’s the common effort that last for a year that gives the Champions League trophy a particularly sweet taste.”

Budapest calling

"I will be there in the first FINAL4 of the women’s Champions League. I am as excited as if I were to play, too, but I have my fears about this competition. As for the boys, it’s no problem to play two games in two consecutive days but it might be a problem for the ladies. Physical strength will play an important part, that’s for sure!”

Siti believes Győr are the strongest team in the Women's EHF FINAL4 and expects a little surprise in the semis. "Buducnost is widely expected in the final but somehow I feel Vardar will stop them. I am not great at telling the future, it’s might be just a feeling I have.”

TEXT: Bence Martha / br