Handball is a sport that does not leave anyone indifferent. And this is especially true abroad. But which nations tremble most for the little round ball?
If handball in France resists other sports such as football, rugby or basketball, some countries in the world have given this sport the place it deserves, and it originated in Germany and Denmark in the early 1900s. With the arrival of Sonderjyske player Noah Gaudin, he was able to accurately measure the importance of the hand in Denmark.
” The Dane loves sports. Especially football and handball. It is a national sport with a strong selection and reference. There is a lot of clapping. It is the land of hands. He plays well. Have a good workout. Current World and Olympic champion. It shows itself in the championship. “Germany is also a reference and its Bundesliga remains number 1 in the world. Igor Anich, a former player of the Kiel and Gummersbach club, where he won the Champions League in 2010, could judge the enthusiasm of the Germans.
” Germany is a country that loves sports, be it football, handball, basketball, hockey, or boxing… They watch everything. Germans are more spectators than supporters, although there are exceptions, as everywhere. Playing Kölnarena in front of 20,000 people is incredible. Just like playing Rhein-Neckar, Kiel or Hamburg. We don’t see that in France. It’s progressing though. We are far from 10,000 seats in cinemas in Germany. People recognize us on the street. Karabatic is an audience of connoisseurs, although I am not at the level of fame of Omeyer or Narcisse.. »
Rudy Seri also got to see the madness of the hand in Germany while playing at Sélestat in Alsace. ” I watched the matches in Germany. Even the smaller units have people. Many people come. Another population that will see the hand. The intensity of the matches means that there are opportunities for handball. There are great players. While I was at Sélestat we went to see Rhein-Neckar Löwen play in Mannheim and it was a crazy atmosphere. They have huge showrooms which helps create hype. It was a great experience to see German handball. »
“Crazy atmosphere in Germany”
For his part, Micke Brasseleur was able to explore Germany a few years ago with HSC 2000 Cobourg. Today at CSM Constanta in Romania, he can compare the passions that animate the two nations.
” I was surprised by the enthusiasm in Germany. I realized this when I played my first match. It was not the audience that came to see us. Afterwards, I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I left with a disaster, the integration was not good. That’s why I returned to Romania this summer. Even if it remains an important sport, there is less enthusiasm. My adaptation is simpler. I speak English better. The country wants to develop handball. He allows himself to develop it. Level is important. Like Poland and Kielce, which Nedim Remili discovers on a daily basis.
” Soccer is the main sport in many countries. Volleyball is also followed in Poland. But especially in Kielce, handball remains an important point. Even when we play in the league. Even if it’s plus 10 or plus 12 goals, we have a lot of fans who support us. There is minimal atmosphere. My family, especially my father and brother, were very impressed with the atmosphere. All were yellow. We support the team as much as we can. It is a leading sport that we have many posters in the city. to Warsaw. »
Rudy Seri explains that in addition to rousing the enthusiasm of a country, handball is above all a passion that animates cities. After seeing him, in Spain, with CS Bidasoa in Irun two years ago, in North Macedonia and today in HC Eurofarm Pelister in Bitola.
Southern Europe was overwhelmed by the popularity of handball
” There is no country. It is superior to all the cities that love handball. I had a chance to do Irun and Bitola today. These are prominent places. Everyone is crazy about handball. Proud to represent this city. Handball in the Balkans has a great history, but it is difficult for me to talk about the passion of a country compared to other sports. The room in Irun in Spain was always full. On the other hand, there were less people outside. People are more football fans. There is a passion for handball in Macedonia. Bitola is filled with big matches or Eurocups. In France, only Nantes and Montpellier fill the halls. »
In Slovenia, Igor Anic also filled the halls with Celje. ” It is smaller in Slovenia. But Celje remains the cradle of European handball. Good football players have come out of Selye and the Slovenian school. Balkans love handball. All the countries of the former Yugoslavia manage to rise in the best world rankings. These are the countries that produced the best players in the last 20 years. See the squads of the top 10 clubs in the world. It is cultural for them. These are countries created for handball. People know handball. »
Unlike the Japanese, Igor Anich now meets on a daily basis as a Daido Steel Phoenix player.
” Japan is a country of 120 million people. It is a big country with many people. Handball is not so well known. When people see me on the street, they often ask what I do. Because I’m a tall, sturdy, bald, tattooed expat… I say I’m a professional athlete and you immediately think of basketball, rugby, or volleyball. We rarely think about handball. There are no big passions. There are some nice rooms though. At the public level, we’re more like 1,000 or 2,000 viewers. Only Luc Abalo’s Tokyo Zeekstar invests. Japan is not a handball country, but there is quality. »
However, after more than 15 years of career, the 2015 world champion has not forgotten the warmest atmosphere in his career.
” I always remember the Champions League match between “Montpellier” and “Veszprem” in 2004. I was 17 years old. We were in the old room which was smaller. An extension of the bench was in the gallery. I went back to the hotel and my ears were ringing with the music after the concert. Hungarian fans are true handball fanatics and game-turning crazies. We find this subversive side in the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, even in Russia. Scandinavians are more polite and quiet like Germans. »
It is now up to France to experience the enthusiasm that handball can create around the world. He has already proven that he is capable of this in the past.