The Mexican Vardar
Mexico might be an unlikely place to spot the red-and-black stripes of the defending VELUX EHF Champions League champions – but since September 2017, HC Vardar have had a twin on the other side of the world.
In the northern Mexican city of Monterrey there is another club carrying the Vardar name: RK Vardar MX. The club has the same colours and almost the same shield as its better-known twin, but was founded in 2017 rather than 1961.
RK Vardar MX were set up some months after HC Vardar won the EHF Champions League for the first time in June 2017.
“When they won the Champions League, it was an inspiring story for us. Since they were winners, the club became more popular and we learned more about the team, its incredible fans and the amazing country of Macedonia. We fell in love with Vardar and this was the reason to decide to create a new club like Vardar,” explains Jose Mata Gomez, co-founder and administrator of RK Vardar MX.
“Creating the club was our tribute,” he adds.
Vardar’s triumph at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 this year was also an inspiration in Mexico.
“This final was won with much love for the jersey and was the confirmation Vardar is one of the great clubs in the handball world,” Mata says.
RK Vardar MX still have just one team, who compete in the Mexican first division, but they plan to add more men’s teams as well as women’s and youth teams.
Mata and his teammates follow HC Vardar matches via ehfTV.com and across social media to stay constantly updated. Despite the team’s poor performances in the Champions League so far this season, which currently has them in sixth place in group B, their Mexican fans remain positive.
“I see a strong team despite the up and downs, I think they can fight for first place in all competitions,” Mata believes. “It’s normal on a professional level to have some bad results, all fans are confident that better results will come.”
Handball in Mexico
Handball is not a well-known sport in Mexico, but is growing in popularity. As the sport develops, it is gaining more players and more attention in the media.
“Handball is an amateur sport, but handball is played at schools and socially. There are high-performance teams, national teams, and the best universities have their own handball teams,” explains Mata.
“We also have some players with European experience. Mexico is becoming a strong opponent in America, and we hope handball can be one of the main sports in the future,” Mata concludes.Author: Laia Coll / jh