Dmitriy Torgovanov: "I root for Zenit in other game sports. And for the whole Saint Petersburg sport!"

5 October 2022
An outstanding pivot, Olympic champion in 2000 and two-time world champion, who, in fact, became the embodiment of St. Petersburg handball, headed HC Neva already in 2009. And within 13 seasons he led the Petersburgers to medals of the Russian championship 12 times! And now he continues leading the club entitled Zenit. 
Probably, it’s early to speak about the tasks and it’s not worth revealing plans, but Dmitriy Torgovanov, who had always treated the reporters with respect, in an exclusive interview to Handballfast told something interesting! Enjoy reading!  
  — Dmitriy Nikolaevich, to start with, let us congratulate you, firstly, with a successful start in a new tournament to you SEHA-Gazprom League, as well as with the fact, that you finally became HC Zenit! How long did this story last?

  — Since 2017 year, if I’m not mistaken. Though the publications on this topic were in mass-media earlier: it is a common  European practice, when famous football clubs, such as Barcelona (and there are enough examples in Portugal), play under the same brand with handball players.

 — And you’ve been using the Zenit colors for so long… Or is it a coincidence?
 — Well, we use them for a long time, we weren’t preparing for rename in advance for sure (smiling). And finally these are the colors that are associated with Saint Petersburg, the Neva river, water surface…
 — By the way, honestly, did you monitor Zenit in other kinds of sports?
  — You’ve  known me for many years, what sense of being insincere? Of course, I didn’t just monitor, I rooted with all my soul not only for Zenit, in particular, football and basketball clubs, but also generally for all Petersburg sport. For instance, for hockey SKA. When did I watch Zenit play for the last time? On Sunday we were officially introduced at Sibur Arena, and during the break we even came to the court. 
 — So, do you expect the fan base to be added from people supporting Zenit in all sports?
 — Well, we expect additional interest, more precisely. And whether we gain new supporters or not will depend not  on the name under which we are performing, but on our play and victories, no matter how banal it sounds.
  — It will certainly require strengthening. I would quote your speech on that HC Zenit presentation: "Naturally, we will examine newcomers — I won’t tell the surnames in order not to cause high excitement. There are some plans, as well as awareness of weak positions, but at the moment it’s difficult to take necessary handball player, because the season has already started. Negotiation process is always long".    
 — What can I add to this? Everyone knows, that we had been raising that team for 7 years. And during mid-season, when we were in uncertainty, 8 people left. We managed to return just Pavel Turaev. 
Is there a task to return Petersburg handball wards as many as possible? You know, the conversation about the necessity to play is conducted not for the first year — not only in handball and not only in Saint Petersburg. But if we switch to football, then tell me, are there a lot of their own trainees on the base of such clubs, as Real or Manchester City? Indeed, for some time most of Barcelona main squad were raised within Catalonia academy walls. But firstly, anyway not one hundred percent of them, secondly, it didn’t last for so long: generation upon generation.
Football club Krasnodar declared the task to play with its trainees, but Sergey Galitsky has a powerful academy, which exists for a long time, and obviously the return wasn't immediate. And again, the base — is strengthening from outside. That’s how the modern sport works, where the leadership is waiting for victories.      
 — Is it too early to speak about the tasks for the season?
 — Well, why are you asking, if you understand it yourself? As I’ve already said, the team is just being formed, the game connection are being built. As a consequence, actions are not so successful, like in the match with HC Victor. We have just joined the Zenit ranks and are going to discuss everything: goals and objectives… But not at once. 
Can you imagine, what my head is aching about first of all? Right: about the Sunday meeting. 9 October we are hosting HC Astrakhan, the play is very important. We work from match to match!
 — Will the play be held in the Inter-Univercity centre?
 — Yes, and I would point out once again: the Super League matches will be held in the near future right there, it is connected with the concern for attendance, though we continue training in the Sports School of Olympic Reserve in Kirov region. And we will host our rivals in SEHA-League in Sibur Arena like it was in the first tour (again in order to allow as much viewers attend our matches, as possible). 
 — Speaking about the play with CSKA, 17:00 on a working day is not the most convenient time for fans…
 — Naturally, the game was planned to start at 19:30, but it was postponed due to the broadcast on federal Match channel: hockey play between CSKA and SKA had already been scheduled on the evening. It is very important for handball popularization, which isn’t shown on national channels very often. By the way, many peopled called after this match, which proves that live broadcast causes an additional surge of interest. Besides, you must agree, the signboard Zenit-CSKA looks attractive (smiling).
 — One more question to conclude the conversation. It’s clear, that you are going to strengthen, it’s understandable, that you don’t reveal your secrets yet. But what is the current squad potential? Are the players able to perform better? And as well, are you satisfied with Alexey Archibasov’s transfer?
 — Interesting guys gathered with us, I feel high capacity that many of them possesses. And whether they are able to realize it depends, as usual, only on them and their attitude to the matter… Anyway, strengthening is necessary. Even the strongest teams with a superstar cast will never refuse from fresh blood. At least for the sake of competition, it’s the engine of progress.
Concerning Archibasov, fortunately, Alexey meets my expectations yet. It is a great success that we managed to invite him, there aren’t so many experienced central defenders in Russia! 
Photo: HC Zenit and CSKA press 


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