Police officer Savenco: Dinamo captain takes up new roleArticle
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FEATURE: A staple of Dinamo’s superb defence this season, team captain Dan Savenco currently finds himself in a totally different position, enforcing Romania’s lockdown rules as a police officer

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Police officer Savenco: Dinamo captain takes up new role

“One month ago, we were thinking about the games of our lives, about a showdown against a powerhouse, about our fans filling up the arena and giving us wings,” Dinamo Bucuresti captain Dan Savenco says.

“Now, everything has changed.”

Hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Romania is in state of lockdown since 15 March, meaning all sporting events have been cancelled until further notice.

It includes the Romanian League, but also the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 game between Savenco’s Dinamo and Paris Saint-Germain Handball, a game that could have easily filled a 10,000-seat arena in Romania.

While the competitions have been put on hold, the players’ lives have dramatically changed, including Savenco’s.

Toughest Bucharest neighbourhood

As Dinamo are still a club which reports to the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, several members of the club, including team captain Savenco and assistant coach Sebastian Bota, are also employed by the state.

This means that in a state of emergency, like the current situation, they can be called up and be deployed as police officers.

Every person who cannot justify the reason of being on the streets is subject to a fine which can range from 415 euros to 4150 euros.

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Posted by Dan Savenco Official on Thursday, 9 April 2020

“I am now working eight-hour shifts with another officer, enforcing the rules if needed. Sure, we have issued some fines, but generally, this has not been troublesome,” says Savenco, the 34-year-old line player, who has been plying his trade for Dinamo since 2013.

However, Savenco has been deployed in one of the toughest Bucharest neighbourhoods, Ferentari, which has the highest criminality rate in the Romanian capital.

“This job is difficult, because you never know what to expect. What might be a polite discussion between police officers and citizens can always turn ugly, because people have been in lockdown for a month. Some of them are looking for trouble, no matter what you do, so you have to be prepared,” Savenco says.

Up until this point, Dinamo’s captain has never found himself in real trouble, but physical advantage – he stands 1.98m tall – is not a dealbreaker in police work.

“You have to use your brain, how tough you look does not cut it here,” he says. “I acknowledge I had some fears going into this, because we were told what the dangers are, but I am getting the grip and now I am used to it.”

Missing handball

Handball is still in Savenco’s mind, as he is trying to keep in shape on a daily basis. The Romanian line player has bought a rowing machine to activate all his muscles, until Dinamo gets the green light to come back into training.

“I am surely missing the fans, my mates in the team, everything regarding handball. It is tough, but we have to sweat it out and come back even stronger when handball can be played,” Savenco says.

Until that point, Dinamo’s captain must take up his new role and stay alert every time he works the beat in his new position.

“Handball and police work cannot be compared. These are two totally different things,” Sacenco says. “Of course, on the court there is a lot going on, but generally speaking, you are not afraid for your life. During patrol, you have to stay in touch and rely with your partner, because anything might happen. We hope for the best.”

Photo: C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti Facebook

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ew