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25.02.2011, 15:00◄ last page     


THW Kiel’s World Handball Player of the Year Filip Jícha talks about the next matches and his award.
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Jícha: "We want to remain on top"

Other than most of the players of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League, Filip Jícha had two weeks of rest in January. As the Czech Republic was not qualified, Filip Jícha missed the World Championship, so the back court player of THW Kiel could recover.

In the meantime he was awarded World Handball Player of the Year 2010. But despite his new title Jícha still remains absolutely ambitious.

THW Kiel started well into their 2011 VELUX EHF Men’s Champions league campaign by winning in Chambery. This weekend the reigning champion will face RK Celje on home ground.

ehfCL.com: You were not at the World Championship in Sweden. Did you rather feel sad or rather enjoy the break?

Filip Jícha: I needed this break urgently. The last two years have been heavy and stressful for me, especially in December 2010, as the physical and mental burden was very high. So it felt fine to have a one week holiday in Qatar with my wife and another week without handball.

ehfCL.com: Later on you became part of the World Championship, when you were awarded World Handball Player of the Year 2010 in Malmö.

Filip Jícha: This award was something very special and a great honour. In some decades, when I will have retired and sit on the sofa to have a look on all medals and trophies, I will still get goose bumps when seeing this trophy. Still this does not mean that my opponents now will get out of my way on court, because the World Handball Player of the Year is coming towards them. So I have to keep on performing on highest level, despite this award.

ehfCL.com: Does it put more pressure on your shoulders?

Filip Jícha: It is rather responsibility than pressure. I have to justify the award. But I do not get crazy over this, because I am still part of a team and I do not want to change anything. Still I want to win every match – great sportsmen never are to lose the absolute will to win. Have a look at Thierry Omeyer, a previous World Handball Player of the Year, he really gets angry when he is beaten in a training football match. He never looks back on the titles he has won, but only ahead to titles he wants to win.

ehfCL.com: What are your personal objectives for the rest of the season?

Filip Jícha: I never talk about details like titles or trophies. In the German Bundesliga we had a weak month in December, and we lost in Barcelona in the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League. The task to still leapfrog Hamburg in the Bundesliga is a different one, but we have already started our catch-up chase by beating Berlin and are ranked second now.

ehfCL.com: And your current hopes for the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League?

Filip Jícha: We played well in Chambery – and it means a lot to us to having collected two points there, as the French team did not lose any of their CL home games before this season. We have qualified for the Last 16 already, we are still number one in our group and we have the ambition to remain on this top position. In the knock-out stages you need luck at the draws and a perfect form on the court. Everything is possible.

ehfCL.com: The next match is against RK Celje on home ground. Has their victory over Kielce been a warning to Kiel?

Filip Jícha: I think it is special motivation for the remaining players – after some top stars have left – to show their skills for the club. Celje still have enough good players and play on a high level. We have to be fully concentrated to take the points. But then again I believe that we have the better team.

ehfCL.com: Which opponents would you prefer for the Last 16?

Filip Jícha: I never would reply such a question. I don’t even know enough details about all potential opponents. We cannot change the draw result anyway so it will be a surprise for us – like for all other teams, too.

ehfCL.com: A brief look to the future: You have a contract until 2014 – will you stay in Kiel or probably try something else?

Filip Jícha: Me and my family are absolutely satisfied in Kiel. It would not be enough for me if only the sportive point of view would be ok. My family is happy and we found a lot of friends outside the handball family. So we can continue here.


VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League, Group Phase, Round 9
Sunday, 27 February 2011, 18:45 hrs (local time)
THW Kiel (GER) vs. HC Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)


TEXT: Björn Pazen

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