Kastamonu set sights on the titleArticle
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WOMEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #5: Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR). Following some good results in recent years, the Turkish champions are determined to go far this season
»2019-20 Women's News

Kastamonu set sights on the title

In the recent years, Kastamonu have made a remarkable progress, which is reflected in their European results. In the 2015/16 season, the Turkish team reached the Challenge Cup final, and two years later, they made it to the EHF Cup semi-final.

Now the team coached by Hakan Gunal want to take the next step and go into the group phase with optimism.

Three questions before the EHF Cup group phase:

- Can Kastamonu write history again?

The Turkish team do not hide their ambitions. Their ultimate goal is to play in the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, but now they are in the Women’s EHF Cup and they hope to go far.

Speaking about the team’s objective, club manager Ahmet Cevher said: “For the last six seasons we kept progressing and we played the EHF Cup semi-finals. Now our aim is to win a trophy in Europe and to play only in the Champions League for the next seasons.”

- Is the team stronger than last year?

After a successful 2017/18 season, Kastamonu failed to reach the Women’s EHF Cup group phase the following season, losing to SCM Ramnicu Valcea in qualification round 2. However, they became Turkish champions in that season and strengthened their squad in summer.

Important players such as Yana Uskova and Andrea Seric returned to the team, that coupled with signing a few other quality players means Kastamonu probably have bigger potential this season.

- Will Sepril Iskenderoglu play a key role?

The centre back is the Kastamonu’s captain, and two seasons ago, she became the team’s best scorer in the Women’s EHF Cup. Now Iskenderoglu is 37 and although the time is taking its toll, her experience should help her to become an important figure again.

Under the spotlight: Yana Uskova

The Russian right wing played a big role during Kastamonu’s remarkable campaign in the Women’s EHF Cup in 2017/18. However, she left the team after that season after failing to agree a new contract. The 2005 and 2007 world champion had a lucrative offer from Metz, but she turned it down and preferred to take a break in her career. At the age of 33, retirement looked an option, yet Uskova returned to Kastamonu in the summer of 2019 and again became one of the team’s key players.


“We would like to pass the group phase without any defeats. I believe that we are going to fight as hard as we can. I believe in my teammates. I always respect the opponent, our group rivals are teams from the countries which have proven themselves in handball, but we are also at a level to compete with these teams,” Kastamonu’s experienced captain Serpil Iskenderoglu said.

Fun fact

In 2017/18, Kastamonu became the first ever Turkish women’s club to reach the group phase of any European club competition and they did not stop there, reaching the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions SCM Craiova.

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR)

Qualification for the EHF Cup 2019/20 group phase:
58:56 against Vaci NKSE (HUN) in qualification round 3

Newcomers: Beyza İrem Türkoğlu (Ankara Yenimahalle BSK), Yeliz Özel (Muratpasa Belediyesi SK), Joanna Waloszyk (Pogon Szczecin), Andrea Seric (CSM Craiova), Olha Vaschuk (Ardesen GSK), Renata Kayumova (HC Gomel), Amra Pandzic (RK Krim Mercator), Yana Uskova

Left the club: Yulia Snopova (RK Krim Mercator), Lenche İlkova (Izmir BBSK), Ljubica Nenezic (CS Gloria 2018 Bistrita-Nasaud), Olga Laiuk

Coach: Hakan Gunal (since 2016)

Team captain: Serpil Iskenderoglu

European Cup records:

EHF Cup:
Semi-finalists (1): 2017/18

Challenge Cup:
Finalists (1): 2015/16

Turkish league: 2 titles (2017, 2019)
Turkish Supercup: 2 titles (2017, 2019)

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cor