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News Details

Date: 8/29/2018

Despite losing all five of their Preliminary Group B games at Poland 2018, the Egyptian U18 women’s team - in just their second-ever world championship - led both Denmark and Sweden in their clashes – with the Sweden game seeing the north African side all-square (22:22) with just six minutes left.

However, for the Egyptian team to have competed in Poland represented a big success as the country continues to make its mark in international women’s handball, following their debut at both U20 and U18 levels back in 2016.

“We wanted to prove to the world that Egypt has a women’s handball team which is strong, can compete in world championships and do something,” said centre back Samira Refat Kamal Refaie to IHF.info about the importance of Egypt becoming a regular at women’s younger age world championships and after her team finished their campaign in Kielce.

“In our next world championship, we will do better and we will go for at least the eighth-finals,” continued the El Shams player. “We will improve ourselves and show the world that we play good handball.”

For Refaie, she did not have to look too far for inspiration as her older sister, and fellow centre back, Yasmen, was part of the Egyptian women’s junior (U20) side which made history at the 2016 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship in Russia by becoming the first-ever Egyptian women’s junior or youth team to play at a world championship, where they finished 20th.

“She was a role model to me,” said Samira about her sister, who scored seven goals in seven games in Russia. “I watched her in that world championship and I was very proud of her and wanted to be like her and do better than her – they were a very good team and fought like never before. We are very proud of them they are our role models, all of them.”

Unfortunately, in Poland, Egypt could only finish 23rd out of 24th thanks to their final match win over Kazakhstan and they were left to think about what might have been after those tight preliminary group games.

“I am very sad when I think about the Sweden game,” said coach Ashraf Saleh Aly Shemis who guided Egypt at Poland 2018. “First of all, it is very hard when you come for a championship without a lot of preparation, but before it started we looked to beat Chile and maybe either Sweden or Croatia, but we could not show the same performance as we did against Sweden in all of our matches.

“We ended up playing for 23/24 place, but, of course, we were aiming for a better place – we did put in a good performance against Sweden but, generally, if we had more preparation I think we would have a much better final ranking, but with more investment we can have better preparation in the future and we will look to make the last 16 next time.

“We all learned a lot from Poland,” he continued. “As a coach, I learnt a lot of different tactics as well as the defensive techniques from the German team. Many teams also had their own video analysis scouts and statistics and we definitely need one for our team for the next championship.”

The win against Kazakhstan ensured that the 2017 CAHB African Women’s Youth Champions returned back home with a victory, which is always welcome, no matter what had happened before.

“As we had lost all six matches before, it’s an awesome feeling to end with a win,” said Refaie. “It’s like a dream for us.

“We look back at the Sweden game and it was our best performance - we wanted to win, and we fought very hard in the game, but the luck was on their side – they deserved it as they played very well against us. It was a very hard game and they went far in the tournament. They were a very strong team.”

For captain Nada Mamdou Mohamed Mahmoud she is clear as to what the future holds. “We dream to be better as we couldn’t show the best of us in Kielce and we are not happy, but we will do more in the next championship.

“We will work hard to come to more world championship and do our best - we want to be in the eighth-finals and fight for the quarter-finals. 

“As captain, of course I feel more responsibility - I am a big sister and a friend but I support my team to do their best in matches – but we are all proud to be Egyptian and proud to represent our country in a world championship.”

“I just want to say a big thanks to all the fans for their support and motivation,” added Refaie. “Thank-you for believing in us, and women’s handball in Egypt.”

Egypt results at Poland 2018

Preliminary Round – Group B

President’s Cup

Placement Match 23/24