Hrvoje Horvat is one of the candidates for the Croatian handball national team selection. The son of the legendary Hrvoje Horvat Cveba is the leader of a new wave of young handball experts, and his coach talent for the last two and a half years is grinding in Naše Nexe.
For years he led Dubrava, where he achieved remarkable results, then he was given a chance in the younger categories of the Croatian Handball Federation, so that Nexe would come as a further logical step for a higher level.
And in Našice Horvat this season is doing a fantastic job. Last weekend with a victory over the Slovakian champion Tatran Prešov secured a place in the Final Four of the SEHA League, and in that regional competition they are currently in the first position, with the same number of points and match more than PPD Zagreb and Vardar.
EHF Cup starts
Now that the check-in card for the regional finish, Nexe is preparing for the next big thing: EHF Cup. The elimination of the Greek Olympiakos (they won in both matches) won the placement in the group stage of the EHF Cup, where they were placed in the group with German Hannover, Hungarian Tatabanya and Macedonian Eurofarm Rabotnik.
After having made the club’s historic result last year in the quarter-finals of the EHF Cup, it is now a desire to repeat it. This Friday in the first round will be played in Tatabanya.
Prior to club topics, Horvat speaks on a topic related to the national team and the World Championship held in Germany and Denmark.
“Šipić is an extra class, it will be better and better”
Even during the World Cup, Nexe came to the forefront as a club in which the real hit among the Cowboys – Marin Šipić.
– The public is very surprised at his games, but that is the part of the public that handball does not follow regularly, but only in January when there are big competitions. He is an extra class, he will be better and better, and he will progress in Nexe and his status in the national team will be even better when teammates understand how all values are adorned. He is a pivot that has something that a little circular attacker has.
What is “something”?
– He’s hunting the ball with both hands, he’s agile, extremely powerful and explosive, and he is adorned with a great realization. A real modern pivot.
Your second player, who was among the Cowboys at the World Cup, was the right wing of Ivan Vida.
– After that initial nervousness he showed that he could be a worthy substitute for Zlatko Horvat, who fantastically played the World Championship. He is also a great prospect, and on the trail is Šipić, a worthy and talented player.
“If Lamb was at the World Cup …”
He would have Nexe and three national team players at this World Cup that Lino Cervar invited Halil Lamb, a left back who is the biggest hope of Croatian handball and a real bombarder from outside positions.
– Halil proved himself at the Mediterranean Games, and we missed the shot, penetration and energy he had. We were too sterile in the attack.
The expert staff and HRS have explained that Lobanjac does not have enough experience to be in the cadre, but many wonder how he had experience in the European Championship in Croatia last year. Then Cervar invited him …
– I think Halil was invited, so that we could talk about him in the same way as Šipić. The fact that we had three national teams says that Nexe is doing well and I am convinced that all our players will one day leave to leave Našice as better players than when they came. We want to develop players, so the club grows, and this is also shown by the results.
“President Ergovic is Nexe’s engine”
This season in Nexe is excellent.
– The climate in the club is very good, we are focused on the result and the win, there is no pressing, and the goals are the biggest. There will be difficult times, it’s clear, but even then we have to stay firm.
For the environment in Nexe idyllic and that the players have everything they need for quality work, coach Horvat emphasizes the merits of one man.
– President Josip Ergović. He is the engine of this club and without it nothing would work. We have top-notch conditions, a quality psychologist, fitness trainer and goalkeeper coach. Simply everything is so arranged that I can easily go to the sea soon. The players are great, they fulfill all my ideas and I am extremely happy as a coach, points out Horvat
Excellent results also changed Nexe’s image as a club.
– We can now bring players of a stronger profile, which was not the case before. And this is our greatest strength, it is now easier to get a stronger name in Nexe.
“Sixth place is not a failure, but …”
For years Nexe has been approaching PPD Zagreb, and this season has finally succeeded and won. It was in the first round of the SEHA League, another year. What is Nexea’s ultimate reach?
– We are going step by step, following our story to improve our work. We are on a healthy path, and where will it lead us – we will see.
How does Horvat look at the sixth place at the World Cup?
– We can not and can not be satisfied with the sixth place. Of course, there are teams that are better than us, but we have to go to every competition with the belief that we can win a medal. We should try to shoot at the medal. To be understood, no one can say that the sixth place is a failure, but one day when we set up the system, then it will be normal again to fight for medals regularly – Horvat concluded.