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Date: 5/12/2010

“The Super Globe is very important for us”
Interview with Talant Dushebajew, coach of Ciudad Real

From 17 to 21 May, the six best continental club teams will compete in the IHF Super Globe in Qatar and fight for the title of Club World Champion. The top favourite is the title holder Ciudad Real from Spain, the current EHF Champions League winner. However, the Spanish team has remarkable competitors, for example Al-Sadd, the hosting club from Qatar, which signed several European stars such as Ivano Balic or Kiril Lazarow for the IHF Super Globe. Talant Dushebajew, coach of Ciudad Real, is full of confidence though – this is also due to the fact that his team has recently been very successful and reached the EHF Final Four tournament in Cologne.

Have you ever thought that your team might be so dominant during this season?
Dushebajew: No, absolutely not! It was a bit surprising, but it’s actually nothing more than the result of hard work and an intact team.

How did you manage to replace famous people such as Rutenka, Stefansson or Urios who left?
Dushebajew: It’s a pity that such important world-class players have left our club. However, it’s not about the individual at Ciudad Real, but about the whole team – which is playing brilliantly at the moment. The coach is not that important either.

What’s the secret of your success – is it the defence?
Dushebajew: No, it’s the whole team. We’re very self-confident and strong as a team. The defence is of course very important. We have set a high value on it for many years, but it’s not the only thing you should concentrate on.

Several top performers like Dinart or Sterbik have, in part, renewed their contracts until 2014 – will the team now stick together for the next few years?
Dushebajew: I hope so, because I like working on a long-term basis. What is crucial for me is not the age, but the performance of a player. If Dinart continues playing as excellent as today for the next 20 years, he will of course remain a part of the team.

Ciudad Real also participates in the Final Four tournament of the European Champions League taking place for the first time. Is your team also considered as the favourite?
Dushebajew: We don’t speak about the Final4 until we have qualified for it – but one thing should be clear: We want to win all titles in order to be the best team in the world.

One week before the Final4 in Cologne, your team is playing at the Super Globe. How important is the tournament in Doha for Ciudad Real?
Dushebajew: The last matchday of the season in the Spanish league was on 15 May. Before the Final4, we have two weeks off. Therefore, participating in such a large tournament is important for us.

What is more important for you? Is it the sporting or rather the financial aspect?
Dushebajew: Both of them. We will be clashing the best teams from the other continents and it’s about the World Champion of club teams. By the way, it must be considered that you first have to win the Champions League in order to compete with the other teams at the Super Globe. Nevertheless, the financial incentive is also very interesting for sure.

You have been coaching Ciudad Real for so many years now – do you plan to work there until your retirement?
Dushebajew: A coach’s life always depends on his or her success. If everything works out very well, there’s no problem at all, but if you lack success, the coach is the first to be dismissed. That’s why I never use to plan longer than one year in advance.
Last year, the financial crisis was the very issue and also Ciudad Real was affected – how is the current situation like?
Dushebajew: The whole of Spain and in particular the sporting sector was largely affected, but the situation has eased by now. We are on the right track, but we don’t know yet if everything will become as excellent as it was before.

Your 18-year-old son Alex has already played some matches for Ciudad – will he one day become as successful as you?
Dushebajew: This is entirely in his own hands. He is definitely talented and I, as his father, support him as much as I can. But he has to decide for himself which path he wants to go. He’s a very good example for our intensified work with young talents at Ciudad Real though.