Home Sports France-Ukraine: A women’s handball match like no other

France-Ukraine: A women’s handball match like no other

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Between competition and emotion, the Ukrainian handball players, the first selection from their country to resume competition since the Russian invasion on February 24, will challenge the French women on Saturday in Le Havre to try to win a place at Euro-2022. A trip allowed by the French Federation which supported the movement of the players.

Between competition and emotion, the Ukrainian handball players, the first selection from their country to resume competition since the Russian invasion on February 24, will challenge the French women on Saturday in Le Havre (7:30 p.m.) to try to win a place at Euro 2022. With scattered players and a Ukrainian federation deprived of funds, the match almost did not play out. But the French handball federation took charge of the trip, “about 30,000 euros”.

“Some were fighting under the bombs when we called them on the phone”

An “obvious” situation for Philippe Bana, the President of the Federation: “Sport must be superior to war. We never let go of the link”, he explains at the microphone of Europe 1. “They had declared package, they were scattered all over the place. The leaders were spread over several countries. Some were fighting under the bombs when they were called on the phone, “he adds. “And then, we had almost managed to put on this miracle. And a week ago, they said to us ‘Here, there is the most money. So we said we are doing it, we are sending you the tickets, come, we’re going to do, we’re going to have a good time together ‘. It’s a little demonstration, especially symbolic more than anything else. It’s not much, but it’s already that’, he concludes .

Special permits granted to leave Ukraine

It remains to be seen whether the Ukrainians will have enough momentum to worry the players of Olivier Krumbholz, who have already qualified for the European Championship in November. “It’s very difficult to have your head fully in the competition,” admits coach Vitaly Andronov. “The girls are very affected by the war, they are very worried about their relatives who remained in Ukraine.”

Like the team doctor, Andronov has received special permission to leave Ukraine and will need to return soon. The players of the selection, on the other hand, evolve mainly abroad, even if a dozen play in Lviv, in the west of Ukraine. Most of them have found refuge in the Czech Republic.

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