Currently Serbia is in the spotlight of the handball world as the 21st Women World Championships are being held in the ex-Yugoslavian state.
During the first part of the championships, we have noticed the different styles of the national teams from the different continental federations. The European countries have been more tactical in attack while opting more for aggressive 6/0 defences. The Brazilians, who are the most prominent South American representative, play close to the European style, while the Asian national teams play a very aggressive and deep 3/2/1 defence with more basic fast actions in attack.
After the Preliminary round, the four teams that qualified from the four groups, proceed to the eight finals while the two teams failing to proceed from their respective group, play in the Presidents’ Cup for placement. In the Presidents’ Cup, Algeria, Tunis, China and Australia managed to beat their opponents. In the eight finals, Germany beat Angola and France beat Japan by 8 goals. Poland edged Romania in a closed encounter with 2 goals after the latter were leading 13-10 in the half time. In a very closed encounter, Denmark overcame a stern Montenegro side by the lone goal for a score of 22-21.
Poland and Denmark will be meeting France and Germany respectively in the first two quarter finals while one will be expecting Norway, Brazil, Hungary and Serbia to join them. Denmark and Norway are the favourites for the final. Hungary, with the core players from Gyor are also good contenders with Serbia and Brazil, series contenders to be a surprise.
The Women Champions’ League group matches have given their verdict and have told us who will be advancing to the Main Round. As expected Gyori have won all their games from group A which proved to be a very interesting group with the other three teams ending up on equal points.
German team Thuringer HC will advance to the main round after suffering only a goal difference of -6 in respect to Hypo’s -21 and Baia Mare -22. It was the second consecutive year that Hypo Niederosterreich did not reach the main round but will advance to the EHF Cup Winner’s Cup. On the other hand, it was first time ever for German outfit Thuringer to reach the Main Round. Group D on the other hand offered no real emotions with Vardar and Larvik taking the first two places with 11 and 9 points respectively. The only surprise was how Larvik did not end as winners of the group. From group B, we will see FC Midylland and Budocnost who advanced in the last game by beating FTC Cargo Hungaria. Krim Mercator and Savehof will advance from group C. In the main round we will see two groups of four teams each out of which the first two will advance to the semi-finals. Gyor, Larvik remain the main contenders with Budocnost, Krim and FC Midylland fighting for the other two places in the semis.
Half way through the Men group phase, the four teams that will advance from each group are already being identified. Vesprem, won all their games in group A and are likely to proceed with Rhein Nectar Lowen. The other two places are to be disputed between Zapororzhye, Zagreb and Celje. Kiel, Targi Kielce and Copenhagen lead group B on 8 points each and will advance with Wisla Plock and Porto fighting for the last available place. Group C is also interesting with Barcelona leading with 9 points, Skopje and Metalurg on 6, PSG on 5 and Minsk on 4. Group D is led by the German current champions of Hamburg followed by Flensburg, Aalborg and La Rioja who have a great chance to advance to the next stage.
From a local perspective, the local leagues started with our teams having different fortunes. One must be satisfied with the commitment shown but some technical errors have cost us the games. This will not hinder our aims at doing well in the league and will keep fighting hard to make our ends meet in order to do well.
The Luxol Handball Nursery will be starting handball lesson for kids between 7 and 10 years old. These session will be held at the Mosta Boys’ Secondary School, Zokrija. Session will be held on Sundays from 9:30 am till 11:00 am. The session will be starting 10th November 2013. If you require further information do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com.
Many around the world say football is the beautiful game. I like football and I have played football both on 11 a-side teams and futsal. I will not try to convince anyone that football or any other sport is not nice but nothing compares to handball. Handball is played on a relative small field of 40m X 20m and the teams field 7 players each, who for an hour help their team outclass the other. This combination helps the game to develop a very fast pace and nowadays teams are developing a very high defence to try and play a very fast transition to score. The players are developing amazing footwork and amazing strength that results in powerful human beings who think very fast to take a decision.
Here in Malta the level is not the same as that in France, Spain or Germany but one cannot deny that the leagues of various categories are becoming a more balanced affair and the uncertainty of the games’ outcome has become less obvious. The Maltese game is trying to become more fast and the influx of foreign players in the last couple of years will help the Maltese handball league develop into one of the most followed leagues in Malta.
Luxol Handball Club will soon start running classes for kids between 8-10 years old as Luxol believes that the young kids are the future of the game. Nevertheless, the club is still paying attention on his senior teams who are offering some good outings altered with less enthusiastic performances. The club will keep working in promoting the game of handball in Malta and ensuring its growth by investing in its members.
The main round of the EHF Women Champions League has finally started with the first round of the games being played last weekend. The usual suspects won their encounters with certain ease and seem that they will not find any real opposition till they start meeting each other.
Hungarians Gyor beat Hypo Niederosterreich with a comfortable 41-22 and lead group A. The leaders of group B Budocnost had no problem against Lublin but FC Midtylland showed their mettle by beating FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria. After a 36-28 victory Krim Mercator showed they are the real threat from group C while Larvik won HC Podravka Vegeta by a margin of 16 goals in group D. The only real worry happened to Larvik who lost their star 38 year old keeper Cecilie Leganger due to an Achilles injury. She needs at least 18 weeks on the side lines but should be in time for the next round. Leganger will be replaced by the other veteran keeper 45 year old Lene Rantala.
National teams are finalising their preparations for the Men EHF Euro 2014. In the end of October Denmark, France, Croatia and Norway will meet in the Golden League to sharpen their work ahead of the competition in Denmark. The group stages of the European competition will be held in four major cities in Denmark, mainly Copenhagen, Arhus, Herning and Aalborg. The competition is expected to have few surprises but one must pay attention to a very hard fought group C in Aarhus with Serbia, France, Poland and Russia.
On a local note, our senior teams started their MHA Cup schedule on a negative note. The men faced Phoenix and drew a low scoring 17-17 game. Phoenix’s keeper had a very good performance and our players’ shots could not go through him. Our own keeper Daniel Gauci had a very good game, together with Imed Ben Moussa whose tally of goals kept us in the game all the time and Aidan Tanti was instrumental to have scored the final goal in the last ten seconds of the game.
The ladies’ team was the negative protagonists of a 12-11 loss against a very determined Kavallieri team. The loss though not expected can be accepted but the performance has been below the standard our girls can show and that is the thing that hurts the most. The result of the ladies’ team will not undermine the work by the club and the team itself and the club is sure that the ladies will show resilience in the coming matches.
It has been hard to bid farewell to one of the players who has honoured our colours so passionately and who had become one of the top representatives of our club. Daniel was not only a good player for our Men 1st Division Team but was also proving himself in developing our young talents. While we wish Daniel the best in his new experience we know we will be getting back a more complete player who will take us to new heights. Daniel started following the game of handball with interest in 2003 when he used to go for the training sessions with Depiro Handball Club and a year later he joined the U/17 boys of Salesians. Daniel started as a player but when the team found themselves without a keeper, he was tried in post by his brother Joseph who was coaching him and from that day on Daniel stuck to this role.
When Salesians became D6, Daniel was still playing in the junior teams but at age 15 he found himself playing with the senior team. With D6 ceding to exist, Luxol was formed and Daniel followed his brothers to the St. Andrews team. With Luxol Daniel played in the then Promotion League and the Senior team. In 2009-2010 Daniel won the Best Male Player in the Promotion League and in the next three seasons, he won the Best Player Award for the 1st Division League. It was the first time that a player has won this title for three consecutive years. In 2011 Daniel had a trial with Bundesliga outfit BHC 06. The German team was interested to sign Daniel but the deal fell short for personal reasons. The German team helped Daniel to stay in Germany to monitor him but it was deemed that time and opportunities were not good enough for such a move. Now Daniel has the opportunity to improve his skills in Denamrk at Arhus Sports High School.
The coaches at the school had long been paving way for Daniel to go and it was deemed that this time round, it was good to go and try new ventures. In Denmark Daniel has already attracted lots of interest and he will be having various trials for Elite Clubs. In the coming days he will be having a trial with Skovbakken Aarhus who play in the second division Danish league. Skovbakken are aiming to go back to the first division and they are investing to have a good future of which we hope Daniel will make part of.
We wish Daniel all the best and we hope that he achieves the goals and aims he has set for his future.
In the first round of the Men’s Champions League the biggest surprise was the result Vardar Skopje managed to obtain against a more quoted Barcellona side. Skopje managed a 29-29 result against those who are the clear favourites to lift the trophy. This result should not obstruct the path of Barcellona but will definitely help them focus no opponent will let them have an unchallenged game. The result of the Barcellona game is not the only surprising result there was. PSG also had a tough game against Dinamo Minsk on French soil. The 34-31 result did not game after a plain sailing game but the French team had to sweat hard for it. All the results but one from this first outing was more than five goals. Last year’s winners HSV Hamburg, brushed aside Spanish side Naturhouse La Rioja with a nine goal margin. The German side was in control all the time and although it will be hard to maintain the trophy at the club, the start was an indication they will surely give it their best shot to lift the trophy for the second year running.
On another note, last Saturday saw the start of the Malta Handball Association season. If the day shows you how it will be from the morning, then we will surely have a great handball season. La Salle won both games. In the ladies’ game there was a strong start from La Salle but Aloysians managed to catch up after a shaky start. By the end of the first half La Salle were leading by two goals. Although Aloysians worked hard to go in front, La Salle were good to keep them at bay and finished the game with a 20-16 score. In the men game, our boys offered a great opposition to a La Salle side which was more quoted for the win. No one believed Luxol could offer such an opposition with Spanish player Carlos missing but after leading for most of the game, Luxol’s 3 goal margin loss seems a bit harsh. Luxol put a great show but some technical faults and tactical inexperience proved too much a price to pay. Well done goes to La Salle who were good through the game and took the opportunity when it came to take control of the game.
Well done also go to both sets of supporters, especially to the Luxol supporters who were an inspiration to our men to put on a good show. It was also a deserved farewell to Daniel Tanti who will continue to play the game in Denmark where he will continue to further his talents. Luxol HC wishes Daniel all the best.
Next Saturday at 16:00 at the University Sports Hall our men’s team will be challenging their counterparts from La Salle for the Super Cup. The game will be a remake of last season’s K.O final. La Salle booked a place in the final after having won the league while Luxol will have a chance to lift the trophy after ending as runners up in last season’s K.O. The Luxol family is invited to come and support the team and give a big farewell to Daniel Tanti who will be having his last game with the club for now to pursue new challenges in Denmark. The support showed last year by our supporters made sure the team could challenge for the runner up place for both the league and the K.O and it is a great push for the team. From these pages we also want to urge both sets of supporters and teams to create the great atmosphere seen in last season’s K.O as it is great publicity for the local game. Luxol face a tough challenge from a well organised La Salle team. La Salle’s technical baggage is also better than what our boys can offer right now but our boys vow to fight till the end and that is why all the support offered will give strength to our players.
This is what will make the day a day to remember. A team who is less quoted pushed by a great support giving his all to beat a stronger team.
See you on Saturday 21st September at University
Last Saturday, Luxol Handball Club held its annual presentation at Luxol Sports Bar. There was a fantastic atmosphere with a mixture of familiar and new faces mixing together to create a family atmosphere that distinguishes our club. The BBQ organised for our handball community by the Luxol Sports Bar was a well organised celebration thanks to the strong foundation that unites the individual sporting families at Luxol Sports Club. The peak of the evening arrived when the individuals and teams that excelled during the past season were presented with their trophies.
First the players who formed part of our junior boys and girls teams were awarded for their commitment during training and games and for their perseverance during games. The ladies were presented the runners up medals in the MHA Cup and the 2nd division league and the men were presented the medals for their runner up place in the K.O. After the teams’ presentation, the club presented the trophies for the individual achievements. I must point out that while the club was awarding the individual, this could have never been achieved without the hard work and support from all the individuals that form the respective teams.
The individual awards went to:
Bernice Camilleri: Junior Girls for the dedication shown during season 2012-2013
Nathan Bonello: Junior Boys for the dedication shown during season 2012-2013
Daniela Cauchi: Constant improvement during season 2012-2013
Luke Pelicano: Constant improvement during season 2012-2013
Ryan Sciortino: Top Scorer in the 2nd division
Ryan Aquilina: Best player in the boys’ U/15 and U/17 categories
Josianne Attard: Best player in the U/17 girls and 2nd division league
Daniel Gauci: Best player in the Men 2nd division
Daniela Cumbo: Best player in the Ladies 1st division
Daniel Tanti: Best player in the Men 1st division
The following members were awarded for their efforts in helping the club improve in different fields and through innovative ways.
Raymond Mifsud was awarded for his support and help in hospitality to our foreign members.
Daniela Cumbo’s creative ideas in uniting the club members were awarded because she went out of her way to improve on the good aspects the club has already.
Ionella Barcanescu was awarded for her constant believe in the men team and because her guidance helped the team reach the K.O and challenge for high positions last season.
Stephen Cilia was awarded for his good work in coaching the junior girls’ teams.
The presentation was led by Glenn Mifsud whose innovative ideas are giving a different perspective to the club.
The night was concluded by two great surprises for the club members. Romanian Daniela Badea was presented as a new signing within the ladies 1st division team. Personal contact has long been achieved between Ms. Badea and Joseph Tanti but the club waited for what is believed to be the right moment to sign the player. Ms. Badea will bring a new flair to a team who showed great improvement last year.
Daniel Tanti’s new adventure in Denmark was also made official. At a young age of 22 Daniel has already been Malta’s best 1st division player for the past three seasons, a feat never achieved before and after a number of years being monitored by Idraetshojskolen Aarhus, the parts involved think the time is right for this new step for our keeper. The Danish institution will find an elite club for Daniel to continue his improvement in the Scandinavian country. Daniel will not leave an indifferent void in the club but Daniel Gauci’s talents will surely help the men’s team continue on their improvement. The club would like to show all his appreciation and support towards Daniel Tanti and wishes him successful years in Denmark. Luxol Handball Club would like to thank Daniel Tanti for the honour and support he has brought to the club.
Many seasons around Europe have started and our focus has recently been on the start of the EHF Champions league and the Super Cups from other European countries. With ten days for our own league to start we give a roundup of what we expect from the season 2013-2014.
Custom obliges that the season starts with the Super Cup finals. On 21st September Aloysians and La Salle will face each other in the Ladies final at University sports hall at 14:00 while our own boys will face La Salle at 16:00 in the Men final. This final will be a repeat of last season’s K.O final which La Salle won by two goals in the dying minutes of the game. Luxol will give their utmost to make good for the K.O final in the Super Cup and although they might start with a slight disadvantage, their hopes are high for a good result.
For the good of handball one augurs that the season would be a balanced affair like the previous one. La Salle have a balanced team with young talent coming up and experienced players who will help them make the transaction to the senior league easier. The foreigners in their fold will surely help their quest in keeping the title. Kavallieri would be the second strongest force in the league as their young players are learning fast and the foreigners they have in the team have helped the Maltese talent raise their level while they were able to solve problematic situations the team was facing. Aloysians are restructuring their team and the return of Philip Mifsud will surely help. They are focusing on their young players and they are a very disciplined team. The mentality of Phoenix’s Danish coach has been translated in speed and sheer power in their game and HMS will surely mirror their close ties with La Salle with the passing of local and foreign players, thus one expects a great fight in all games from them.
The ladies league will be closer this season. La Salle are surely the favourites for the major titles. They have strengthened their team with some new foreigners and the return of Steph Desjardins. Aloysians will not make the same mistakes like last year and will fight out hard to deny their arch rivals from winning the league. Phoenix will give more time to their talent and might be a surprise this season.
Where does this leave our teams? Starting from the younger categories we have to continue in the formation of our young talent who do quite well in their category. The strong ties we have with the boys’ school in Mosta and the girls’ school in Santa Lucija will continue. Our young ones must be patient and keep working hard like they did in the past years and keep the results in perspective. Luxol is still keeping the second division for developing their players and are not looking to win the second division league but like other years the club pretends the players give their utmost every game. The Men team will try to win the Super Cup. It is hard but a final is a one game that can go on both sides. The league is a bit of incognito but we vow to fight for every point. The ladies first division need to believe more in the individual strength each player in the team possess and unite these individual strengths to beat the opposition. With stronger believe our ladies will put the results to their good performances and improvement showed last season.
From these pages we would like to promote the great atmosphere each club has worked to create last season but we encourage supporters to show respect towards teams, officials and the opposing supporters