It is difficult to call the performance of the Belarusian national team in Qatar a catastrophe but our guys failed to produce the best result in independent history, having claimed 9th place in 1995 at the World Championship in Iceland. They were no medals or place at the Olympic Games — as hoped for by the national federation and mentioned on the eve of the tournament. However, the present performance at the World Championship was only the second for Belarusians over the last 10 years. On the other hand, statistics seldom reflect the true nature of events. The Chairman of the Belarusian Handball Federation, Vladimir Konoplev, organised an urgent meeting right after the final match of the group stage (Belarus against the national team of Qatar), which our team lost.
Konoplev was concerned by the character and spirit of the players and it is difficult to argue. After the match against the world champion Spaniards, at the start of the tournament, all wanted to believe in the team’s future, despite the result. The meeting with the Slovenes caused doubt among Belarusian fans with a score of 29:34. A similar result against the Brazilians showed the team’s lack of prowess.
The Belarusian coach faces a challenge and the Russian national team’s poor performance is no cover. Vladimir Konoplev notes, “We will not allow foreign coaches to continue doing what they want with our handball. We will live following Belarusian laws. We should have no more than three foreigners. The Belarusian goalkeeper should spend no less time in the game.”
Time will show whether innovative moves are effective. Now it is only possible to say with confidence that Belarusian handball will try to learn the lesson taught in Qatar. And, probably, in two years, we will see an absolutely new team.
By Dmitry Komashko