The aspirations remain sky-high for the Romanian national women’s team, despite their wobbly form in past years.
Led by Spanish coach Ambros Martin, Romania did well to finish fourth at the EHF EURO 2018 after Cristina Neagu, the team’s star, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the main round game against Hungary.
Yet trouble was slowly simmering behind the scenes, as three abysmal defeats in late March in the Golden League tournament in France - 31:27 against Norway, 28:18 against France and 36:23 against Denmark - underlined the issues in the national team.
After a lengthy discussion, the Romanian Handball Federation’s (FRH) president, Alexandru Dedu, and Martin decided to mutually part ways, despite their previous assurances that Martin would still lead the team in the challenge to win a berth for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“I would like to thank Ambros Martin for everything he did for us. He instilled a professional attitude, yet the players always came with a big grin upon their faces to the national team,” said Dedu in a press conference.
The news of Martin’s departure broke on the eve of the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 in Budapest, where the Spanish coach is in charge of Russian side Rostov-Don after leading Györ to four titles since 2013.
Team know Ryde’s methods and tactical viewpoints
Looking for a replacement, FRH settled rather quickly for a familiar face: Tomas Ryde, the Swedish coach who won the Women’s EHF Champions League with Viborg HK in 2006, is regarded the perfect fit for a side which already knows his methods and tactical viewpoints.
Ryde, 58, has been the Romanian national women’s team coach between 2015 and 2016, leading the ‘tricolore’ to the bronze medal at the World Championship 2015.
“I am honoured to lead the Romanian team once again. I did not hesitate a second after the offer came to me, because I know the players, the staff and I like working with the current team,” said Ryde.
“I am happy to be back in Romania, I know the tasks at hand and I am eager to start working once again,” added the 58-year old Swedish coach, who will move to Bucharest in order to micromanage the Romanian side.
His first test will be the Carpathian Trophy at the end of May, which will pit Romania against Angola, Japan and the Romanian B team.
Ryde signed a contract up until the Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer. If everything goes to plan, his stay will be extended until 2024.