Three weeks ago, Sydney Uni won the Oceania Club Championships and secured its spot at the IHF Super Globe, the official club world cup. Now Sydney announced the return of Michael Roth to coach the team during preparation and for the tournament which will be held in Saudi Arabia at the end of August. The aim is to further improve results with the help of the high profile German coach, a former Olympic silver medalist and coach of Bundesliga club MT Melsungen.
The path to qualification was a bit rockier this year, Sydney Uni having to go into overtime vs. an improved team of UQ to win the crown of Oceania Club Champions. But the result was the same as in previous years – Sydney Uni eventually got the ticket to the IHF Super Globe again, which will be held in Saudi Arabia from 26 to 31 August. It brings together the winners of the champions league from each continent – a who’s who of international club handball in which the Australian representative is usually the only amateur team.
It is a unique opportunity for Australian handball to showcase its progress over recent years, and 2015 was undoubtedly the highlight in that regard, when Sydney Uni upset the Qatari heavy weights of Al Sadd to secure a spot in the semi final. And although the student team from Sydney bowed out early in 2018, the once again proved that they are narrowing the gap to the best teams in Asia with two very close games and heartbreaking losses.
The final field of opponents in Saudi Arabia will be announced shortly, qualified so far have FC Barcelona as defending champions, RK Vardar Skopje (winners of the EHF Champions League), Al Zamalek from Egypt (African champions), Taubate from Brazil (South/Central America champions) and New York City (North American champions).
The return of German coach Michael Roth is an important piece of the puzzle in Sydney Uni’s quest to improve on last year’s 8th place. His experience from decades in the German Bundesliga – generally considered the best league in the world – is invaluable for the fledgling sport of handball in Australia. Michael has stated that the ‘passion within the club for developing the sport down under, and the amazing team spirit within the team’ have been critical factors for him to volunteer his time again this year. And of course his personal ambition to better last year’s results.
The team has already started its intense preparation schedule in Sydney under the guidance of Lionel Puyhardy who will again act as co-coach alongside Michael Roth. The squad is being put through the paces physically at the moment, while also finetuning the tactical game plan with a significantly increased number of court sessions. In parallel, the management team at Sydney Uni HC are busy working on a training camp in Europe – which would give the team the opportunity to test against teams of a much higher caliber than available in Australia. With the club operating on an amateur basis, the critical question at the moment is finance – the club needs to sign at least one more sponsor in order to secure the funds for the trip to Europe. Any involvement from sponsors is appreciated – for more info please contact management at firstname.lastname@example.org