Penezic places Vardar among the favouritesArticle
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INTERVIEW: After four seasons of near misses with Krim Mercator, the Croatian left back is keen to reach the top of European handball with her new club

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News

Penezic places Vardar among the favourites

Macedonian champions Vardar presented five reinforcements for this season at their press conference over the weekend. German line player Anja Althaus, Slovenian Barbara Lazovic, Croatian Andrea Penezic and Russians Olga Chernoivaneko and Alena Ikhneva are the MVM EHF FINAL4 participant’s latest additions.

The squad appears optimistic for the coming season and right after the press conference, in an exclusive interview for, left back Andrea Penezic speaks about her new team and the overall expectations for the season. Tell us about your summer. What did you get up to?

Andrea Penezic: I used this summer break to the fullest and tried to rest as much as possible. We have a house near the sea and I spent a whole month there. This summer we had one more reason to celebrate, as my colleague from the national team and teammate in Vardar Maja Zebic got married and many players from the Croatian national team were invited to her wedding, where we had lots of fun. Taking in consideration the situation in Krim, everyone knew that you would leave the club. Why did you choose Vardar?

Andrea Penezic: Due to Krim’s financial problems the club lost many players and we simply couldn’t progress in the Champions League. I’m really sorry that this happened to such a big club with great tradition and I hope to see the team back on the top of Europe soon.

I chose Vardar for the simple reason that I believe that the team is great, with numerous individual good players in the squad and that is why I wanted to be part of a collective that aims to reach the top of Europe. With this team I will try to win the Champions League title, this will be a difficult task, but we will all strive to do our best. What are your first impressions of the new team and city?

Andrea Penezic: After several days spent here I’m satisfied with everything so far. I like Skopje and the team is very good. The most important thing is that we began training with a good atmosphere and energy and everyone is in good mood. It is good when you are coming into a new environment and people accept you like this.

My boyfriend also came to Skopje, which only makes you feel better and I do believe that I can give more of myself if I feel comfortable here. What did Vardar lack in the Women’s EHF Champions League last season? Do you think that the team has overcome that weakness?

The team was new with plenty of new players and that makes it really problematic to coordinate everything in such a short period of time. I believe that the team missed consistency and I think that this was the main problem. This season with several more players in the squad I hope that the team can overcome this weakness. There are many good individual players in the squad. How do you look at the team’s internal balance? Is playing with Lekic in the same squad a big advantage for you?

In my first season in Krim I played together with Andrea Lekic and I see this as an advantage as it will not take long to make things work. I do believe that having so many good players in the team can only lead us further.

I’m not afraid of this and we are aware that no one is able to play 60 minutes on the court. It is good for the team when there are quality players that can share playing time and of course the final decision goes to the head coach. How do you like the idea of the EHF FINAL4 format in women’s handball? Which teams do you see as favourites to compete for the title this season?

I like this idea and it is good for women’s handball that we are using a concept which has worked so well for the men. It takes different type of preparation, as you have two difficult games in such a short period of time, but this goes for each team, so I don’t see this as a problem. Regarding the favourites this season, I think nothing changes as Gyor, Buducnost and, of course, Vardar are among the teams that will fight for the title.

TEXT: Amina Idrizi / cor