Handballfast Exclusive. Lyudmila Bodnieva: "I advise all the players to watch the European Championship-22, at least the top matches!"

3 November 2022
The head coach of the women’s Russian national team Lyudmila Bodnieva summed up the results of two games in Belarus and also told about the reasons for Shamanovskaya absence, plans for the spring and many other things.
 — As you said in previous interview to Handballfast, you wanted to play with the Belarusians — you did it. To start with, how did it go from the organizational viewpoint? Planes, hotels, etc... Is there anything to pick on?

 — No, we didn’t have any problems. We had a good flight, we were welcomed… But we had a night return flight, or, more precise to say, a very early flight. But it was our choice that we made due to the logistics situation. It was necessary for everyone to fly away to regions. And we succeeded. 

 — And from the game point of view?

  — The main thing is that the meeting took place itself. In the current situation any play becomes valuable for us, we appreciate each opportunity. Let’s keep in mind that the last official matches were held as early as in December of last year in Spain, and then only tournament called Olimpbet Friendship Cup was held in Moscow, where we met with our youth team and the same Belarusians. 

Anyway, girls finally played. In the coaching staff we are satisfied with the result as well. We are pleased to win twice. Indeed, there is a bitter taste due to the fact that we are not preparing to the European championship for reasons known to us all. The miss of main tournaments will certainly affect. It’s a step back at least. And now we can only suppose how it is going to affect us in the future.

But from my point of view, anyway it’s important to get together and monitor the European championship since we need to know the potential competitors by sight.   


 — After the matches in the interview to CTV you mentioned the focus of the Belarusian back line on the gates and their connection with line players…

 — Yes, I answered the question, what did I like about our competitors. Although, we talked about it with girls. Yet it is surprising that there were remarks concerning these issues after the first play. However, we fulfilled all the tasks, set for the second match. 
 — It turns out that you coped with the Belarusian national team pivots since only 1 goal was on their account, isn’t it? 
 — Something got better, something — worse. In general, the second match was played intensely. But we really managed to correct certain issues in defense. Some separate fragments were worked out efficiently.
I am well aware that I can say anything, but the players often start to act with accordance to the score. They afford themselves a certain relaxation, leading with a great advantage. I’m not ready to say, that I’m satisfied with the games for hundred percent. However, for instance, the 1st half of the first meeting is worth mentioning: it was a dynamic handball and that’s what is supposed to improve us.
Though, forced replacements resulted in slowdown of the rate. As they say in such cases: we built on what we had.
The Russian national team players, who came to the training camp before the matches with the national team of Belarus:
goalkeepers — Evelina Anoshkina, Anastasiya Ryabtseva (both from Astrakhanochka), Polina Kaplina (CSKA);
left wings — Marianna Egorova (Zvezda), Kristina Kozhokar (Rostov-Don);
right wings — Maria Dudina (Astrakhanochka), Albina Murzalieva (CSKA), Anastasia Starshova (Dinamo-Sinara);
pivots — Alena Amelchenko (Lada), Anastasiya Illarionova, Victoriya Shamanovskaya (both from CSKA);
left backs — Elena Mikhaylichenko (CSKA), Darya Statsenko (Rostov-Don), Anastasiya Shavman (Kuban);
right backs — Yuliya Baeva (Luch), Antonina Skorobogatchenko (CSKA), Ekaterina Zelenkova (Rostov-Don);
playmakers — Valeriya Kirdyasheva (Lada), Karina Sabirova (CSKA), Milana Tazhenova (Rostov-Don). 
 — If you don’t mind, let’s go through the line-up. Ekaterina Dolmatova couldn’t come due to the illness. Yuliya Baeva finally stayed with HC Luch, she didn’t fly to Belarus. Just like Victoriya Shamanovskaya. Valeriya Kirdyasheva didn’t play even once. Antonina Skorobogatchenko went to the court only during the first match…
 — I should start with saying that we gathered all we’d planned to. Obviously, without taking into account those, who recover after the injuries. And legionnaires as well. Of course, we keep them in mind together with the experienced players, who take part in Super League,  but in the current situation we made a decision to provide an opportunity to express themselves to many new names.  
Obviously, concerning the goalkeepers we figured out together with Mikhail Eldarovich (Izmailov — Handballfast). This time we decided to call this triple. All of them got the equal quantity of playing time. 
 — If you allow me, I would like to clarify: how are Kirdyasheva and Skorobogatchenko?
 — They are slightly injured. 
 — By the way, Masha Dudina had to play on the position of right back  due to the absence of Tonya…
  — Indeed, though she doesn’t play on this position in Astrakhan now, we recalled the old skills (smiling). I was pleased with her flexibility. She played on the back position in the second match from the sheet, filled the gap in the back line. Actually, Masha can play as the second defender also. I will note that she wasn’t upset without playing, at least, it didn’t affect her. As soon as the occasion occurred — she took advantage of the opportunity. 

 — Since we are talking about the psychology, many have noticed that Nastya Shavman is too worried in the national team. Would you agree?

 — Nastya delighted everyone at the start of the season with her play in the club and on the Spartakiad. She deserved the call to the team. I agree that she is too excited in certain circumstances in the national team. She works hard, but not everything turns out. It’s a working issue, I don’t see anything wrong it it. Sooner or later she will start scoring. Everything is individual. Someone needs more time to adapt, someone less.  

 — I would return to the issue concerning Shamanovskaya separately. Why didn’t she go to Belarus to play? There are various rumors…
 — Don’t believe rumors (smiling). Initially, it was our arrangement, that she spends several training sessions and only then we will plan her participating in plays. I would even say that it was rather my decision, and Vika agreed with it. She merges into the process gradually! She treats her former national team with great respect. But if she was there, she would play definitely.  
 — Did I get it right that Kristina Kozhokar remained as the captain?
 — Yes, the team expressed support to this decision. At the moment I suppose, it’s the optimal option, I emphasize that in this squad. As I’ve already said, she is responsible, sociable, she has no claims during the training process.
 — You have said recently that you would like to play with the Belarusians in optimal line-up. 
 — And not only with them. We discuss the tournament in the beginning of March with their team participation. If it works out, we would like to invite our experienced players, of course, if there is such an opportunity. We hope, the Belarusians will arrive in optimal line-up with all the legionaries. We will try to gather the appropriate squad as well.
 — What plans do you personally have? Will you go to watch the European championship?
 —   Yes, I’m planning to go. And I recommend to all girls to watch it, at least the top matches. From the one hand, it’s makes me sad to understand that we have to be there. On the other hand, this should be done, as I’ve already emphasized.
Personally I will monitor the whole championship. Something in the court, the rest on TV. Any forecasts? It’s hard to make them, when many leading players of national teams are not playing. Practically all of them will play not in optimal squads. I suppose, the surprises are possible. According to the results of  last friendly matches I expect the national team of Netherlands to enter a narrow circle of favorites. 
Photo: the HFB press; Dmitry Hristich / the HFR 


Tournaments: EHF Euro (women)
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