Skube: “If we did not have character and heart, we would not be European champions”
After several injuries and departures of players and coaches, defending champion HC Vardar has experienced a downward spiral this season. Vardar lost their last VELUX EHF Champions League home game against Montpellier, which pushed them to sixth position in Group B.
“I think this is the most turbulent season in club history. We started off well with three wins, and then a lot happened – the change of coaches, financial problems and the departure of the players, and we felt it mentally. Considering all of the above factors, this result is unfortunately realistic, “said central defender Vardar Stas Skube.
Several new names
Stevce Alushovski is new to Vardar after being named head coach in January. He has already faced changes in the lineup due to the departures of Dainis Kristopans, Pavel Atman and Khalifa Ghedbane.
“Stevce is a great person and a coach, and he wants to get the most out of us. It is a really difficult task these days. He talks to us every day and tries to motivate us as much as possible, ”says Skube.
Starting this month, Vardar has signed two reinforcements, with national team goalkeeper Borko Ristovski and Marko Mishevski joining the team.
“I think it’s great that we have new songs because we missed another goalkeeper and Marko Mishevski can do a good job in rotation, especially in defense. He was with us last year too, so he had no trouble adjusting to the team. ”
Rehearsal of the 2018/19 quarter-finals?
In the past six seasons, Vardar has reached at least the quarterfinals of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Twice, the Skopje-based team went all the way and won the premium European competition.
On the road to Cologne this time, Vardar will meet the former Skube club MOL-Pick Szeged – the team that the North Macedonian team faced in last year’s exciting quarterfinal. The first leg will be played on the Vardar field, before the second leg in Szeged.
“I don’t think there can be many surprises between Pick Szeged and Vardar. Over the past two years we have played a lot of matches, so we know each other very well, ”says Skube.
I hope a positive result
Skube excelled in the Vardar jersey last season, playing an increasingly central role and becoming an instrumental part of the team. In his first season with Vardar, Skube reached the highest podium place in Cologne.
“I like to play a key role in the team and I like to fight for the highest places in all competitions. I’m the kind of person who likes challenges, so I’m really sorry for everything that’s going on in the team at this point, “said Skube.
These days aren’t the brightest for VELUX EHF Champions League title holders, but Vardar still has the chance to play the final weekend once again. Vardar players have already proven that a difficult situation can bring greater motivation, as the Macedonian power is known for showing character in difficult times – sometimes leading to epic results.
“Let’s be realistic. The team that won the EHF FINAL4 tournament cannot be compared to the current team, because the previous one was 40 to 50% stronger, and it is unlikely that the scenario from last year will repeat itself. However, if we did not have character and heart, we would not be European champions and the club would no longer exist, “says Skube.
“The situation is really difficult, but I know that we will give 200% of ourselves by the end of the season and we will not cry because of the problems we face. I think it will all come back to us in a positive way. ”
Author: Amina Idrizi / cg