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30.04.2017, 12:00◄ last page     


INTERVIEW: ehfcl.com talks to one of the greatest players in women's handball, who is now aiming to become the first woman to win the Champions League as both a player and a coach.
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Dibirova: Every coach dreams of working with world class players

What does one of the greatest players in women's handball do after stopping with her career? Well for Irina Dibirova (formerly Poltoratskaya) that moment came in 2010, and she went looking for a new handball challenge.

As David Davis stepped down in 2017, Dibirova took the helm of Macedonian champions Vardar, and this season she has successfully led the team to their fourth consecutive EHF FINAL4 appearance.

Now Dibirova is two steps closer to the possibility of becoming the first ever woman to win the Champions League as a player (in 2005 with Slagelse, and in 2008 with Zvezda) and as a coach.

In this ehfcl.com interview, read more about her first coaching experience, the challenges in the upcoming period, and the balance between her personal and professional life.

- After several matches in the Champions League, please tell us more about your experience in the new role?

I have to say that this is very serious move for me, as it is my first coaching experience and it came right before the crucial matches in the Champions League. I’m glad that nothing went wrong and we made it to the final tournament. That's thanks to the great collaboration with Eduard Koksharov, Aco Stankovski, and of course the entire team.

- Is it difficult to work in a team that has so many handball stars?

You say many stars? Well yes, this is correct, and I think that every coach dreams to have the opportunity to work with such a playing roster and this makes me very happy. The coaching work is not easy but if you have some of the best players on disposal, everything becomes much easier.

- Since you were a player, you know a lot about women's psychology. On what will you concentrate before the crucial matches?

I’ve only been with the team for a very short period, so this situation makes it difficult to change anything specific. We have to continue with the normal training process and preparation for the matches, as well as in depth analysis of our opponents and their key strength and weaknesses.

- Throughout your career you worked together with both men and women coaches. What do you think, who do you think suits women handball more?

I personally don’t think there is a difference for the team when it comes to a male or female coach. A great solution can be a tandem, but what is very important is the understanding between the entire team.

- In several matches this season Vardar showed vulnerable performances, but also there were games in which the team demonstrated superiority. How do you see the strengths and weaknesses of the team?

Not just Vardar, but also the other teams throughout the season showed some strong and weak sides. I think that it was not easy for the team with all the changes on the coaching position that occurred this season, but the main strength is that we have a roster with world class players that will do everything in order to achieve a good result.

- In the semifinal of the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 you will face CSM Bucuresti. What do you think about your opponent?

We know our opponent very well. Playing against the current title holders won't be easy at all because their roster is composed of great players in all positions, but of course many things depends on us. We have to make a good analysis and prepare well for this clash.

- Eternal bronze is the main association for Vardar's FINAL 4 experiences. Do you think that the team has the strength to win the title this year?

Every team has the chance to win the Champions League. Of course after three bronze medals our goal is the title, and with this team I think that we have the capabilities to go one step further and write a new page in the club history.

- You have two children and many professional obligations in the club. How hard is for you to balance your personal and professional life?

It is not easy at all to balance between the personal and professional life. But luckily I live in a sporting family so I have support from all of them. I hope that together we will manage all the challenges.

- How is the situation in your family now, since you are a coach and your husband Timir Dibirov is a player?

Timur has always been my great support. I could rely on him during my player career and now he is a great support in the new role as well. At home nothing has changed because my role as a mother and woman is always in first place.

 - Will Timur come to support you in Budapest?

It all depends on his obligation in the club, but of course if he has the possibility he will come and support me and my team.


TEXT: Amina Idrizi / ap

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