These are exciting hours for the Dutch handbalmen. Because of all kinds of opt-out for the battle for the world title in Egypt, Orange is suddenly a candidate to be added to the competition field at the last minute.
“ Everyone wants. Organizational we are ready to travel”, says technical director Monique Tijsterman of the Dutch Handball Association (NHV) about the possible unique opportunity.
“ Of course, it is a dilemma whether you want this at this time, in which it is called on to make only necessary trips. However, for top sport an exception was made by the cabinet. That‘s what we fall under. We can take advantage of the exemption. In any case, there are no doubts about the player group and staff.”
The World Cup in Egypt starts Wednesday, so today. The International Handball Federation (IHF) had previously put six countries on the reserve list due to the many uncertainties surrounding the coronapandemic. Orange was in third place on that list.
Reserves one and two, Northern Macedonia and Switzerland, have already been called to replace the Czech Republic and the United States, which have dropped out due to a large number of coronavirus infections. But also the selections of Cape Verde and Brazil would have been affected by the coronavirus.
And so Orange, now as the first substitute, suddenly comes seriously into the picture to take action in Egypt.
During the last few days, the Dutch handball association has worked hard to be able to take action immediately when a call comes from the IHF. “The ball really rolled on Tuesday night when there were unsubscriptions for the World Cup and you suddenly realize that you are the first reserve on the list of the international union,” says Tijsterman.
Conversations with the player council and the guidance provided only enthusiastic reactions. Icelandic coach Erlingur Richardsson even canceled his planned flight to his homeland. The animo to go to the World Cup is huge, assures Tijsterman.
“ The Dutch men could not stand for this World Cup, while we had a real chance against Austria in the play-offs removed because of corona. If we’re still allowed, that would be great.”
The Dutch men returned from Slovenia last Monday, where on Sunday they dragged a tie out of the fire against the top country in handball. Tijsterman: “The players are tested on corona today (Wednesday, red.). Part of the player group has been tested at Papendal sports centre, others have had it done at home.”
The union has already taken options in places during a flight Thursday to Egypt. “And even if we don‘t get the green light until Thursday evening, there are opportunities to travel on Friday. There was no deadline set by the IHF. We’re on hold, but we‘re ready to act quickly. It’s thumbtwisting now.”