Rostov's captain: We are obliged to winArticle
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FEATURE: Regina Shymkute, the Ukrainian-born back player and captain of Rostov-Don, believes that her team must advance to the Women's EHF FINAL4.

Rostov's captain: We are obliged to win

The result of the first leg of the Women's EHF Champions League Quarter-final between CSM Bucuresti and Rostov-Don was quite disappointing for the Russian champion. In Romania, Jan Leslie's team lost 25:26.

For Rostov's captain Regina Shymkute, the first European defeat in the season was also an unpleasant surprise. "We had our chances, but did not use them with full efficiency. Besides, we made too many mistakes and lost the ball too often," explained the 30-year-old playmaker and left back player when speaking to

Yet, Rostov have a fair chance to beat CSM in the return leg, which will be held on 9 April on their home court.

"I do not want to sound too self-assured, but we are obliged to win. We are analysing the first game very thoroughly and paying attention to both our and their mistakes. We have to use the maximum of this knowledge. Getting to the FINAL4 would be a big victory for our club, a good result of our work," Shymkute says.

Picking the fruits

The Russian champion is a debutant in the Women's EHF Champions League, yet they had a record of eleven wins and one draw in the twelve matches held in two group stages.

Shymkute was not quite surprised by that performance: "I would rather say I took it with a smile, it was exciting and joyful. We just prepared for each game and tried to win it. In the end, we picked the fruits of our work."

Rostov's squad changed a lot before the start of the season. A number of Russian national players and a renowned Norwegian goalkeeper Katrine Lunde joined the team.

According to Shymkute, it helped to improve the quality: "The team has grown. Now we have two great goalkeepers, Katrine Lunde and Anna Sedoykina. They are very reliable and we all feel more protected. However, despite all changes, Jan Leslie's demands remained the same and we know them."

Shymkute herself can be called a team veteran as this is already her sixth season in Rostov. But the time for the playmaker has passed very quickly: "It feels like I have been here only three or four years and not six."

Although the back player is the team captain, she humbly refuses to stand out from the crowd. "I would not call myself a natural leader. We have many leaders in the team, a great bunch of girls that support each other, and I do not think that I play the biggest role. But maybe I am the captain because I can make the group more united," she says.

Changing the passport

Born in Ukraine, Shymkute has a Lithuanian last name. "My father is from Lithuania and I have many relatives there. I keep in touch with them, even though I have only been a few times to their country. So maybe I identify as Lithuanian in a corner of my soul," the player says.

Shymkute grew up in Kherson, where she started her career at HC Dnepryanka Kherson. Later she spent five years at another Ukrainian side, Galychanka Lviv, before moving to Romania club Oltchim.

And the next step in her career was Rostov. A few years ago, Shymkute, who had previously played for the Ukrainian national team, decided to take the Russian citizenship.

"My mother is from Russia and our family moved to Kherson in the eighties only because living in the Southern Ukrainian climate was better for my sister's health," she explains.

And she goes on: "But when I moved to Rostov, I loved the life here. I plan to live in Russia where I think I will find a job after finishing my playing career. I do not see such prospects in the Ukraine. My parents are still there, but I plan to bring them to Rostov within a year."

When Shymkute changed her citizenship, she obviously hoped to play for the Russia national team. She was called up there for a while, but not any longer.

"Probably, I am not good enough for the coach. At first, I was quite worried about it, but then I realised that life goes on," Regina Shymkute concludes. "If they do not need me, what can I do?"

Now she can concentrate on her game and captain duties at her club in order to win against CSM Bucuresti in the second leg and to make it to the EHF FINAL4 in Budapest.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / es