Edwige: a trip to Budapest before saying goodbye?Article
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INTERVIEW: Before she transfers to Györ this summer, All-star Team nominee Beatrice Edwige hopes Metz Handball can finish the job and reach their maiden DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4
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Edwige: a trip to Budapest before saying goodbye?

Better late than never, they say. And that is exactly what Metz Handball line player Beatrice Edwige is experiencing at the moment. After turning 30 six months ago, she’s currently enjoying the most successful handball period of her life. With France, she holds both the EHF EURO and the World Championship titles. 

Edwige is one of the best defenders in the circuit – she even won the award at the EHF EURO 2016. She is also one of the leaders for Metz and is nominated in the Women’s EHF Champions League All-star Team for 2018/19. 

“All of these things weren’t in my plans” she smiles, before talking about her move to Györ next summer. “Going abroad at 30 is not something that I had imagined. I wouldn’t have left for any club but Györ. When you know how much I’ve had to work to reach this position in handball, you realise that this is a crazy opportunity for me. Playing there, I’ll improve even more individually, among the best players in the world.”

But before her move east next summer, there are still some trophies to win with Metz, a club she has played for since 2016. A qualification for the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 would be an impressive achievement, especially after the quarter-final eliminations in the last two seasons. 

“The plan is to forget we’ve won the first game”

Ask Edwige if she and her teammates have learnt from past defeats against Györ and Bucharest and she will be quite straightforward: “I’ll let you know on Sunday morning.” After winning by five goals in Romania last week, the French side still have to finish the job and keep their advantage on home turf on Saturday night. 

“This is a position in which we’ve never found ourselves. The past couple of years, we had to give everything to come back into the game,” says Edwige. 

Does this mean that, to maintain their lead, Metz will be counting goal after goal in the second-leg quarter-final? “Not at all. We have to play even better and win the game. The plan is to forget we’ve won the first game and give everything in the second one,” says Edwige.  

The last team to beat Metz in a home Champions League match was FTC, in January 2017. Since then, powerhouses such as Györ, Buducnost, Vardar and Rostov-Don have all been forced to admit defeat in Les Arènes. 

“This gives us confidence. We know we can do it, but nothing’s sure in handball. We never thought we’d lose by 13 in Bucharest last season, but still, it happened,” says Edwige. “We did the job perfectly in the first leg. Now it’s time to finish it.”

If they were to book their ticket to Budapest, it would be a first for Metz – and indeed, for any French team. It would also be a perfect goodbye gift for Beatrice Edwige before her departure for Hungary in a few months. “I’ll have time to think about that when it comes to an end. Right now, I’m only focused on the court,” she concludes.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg