In the nation's handball history Slovakia qualified for the EHF EURO 1994 and the World Championship the year after. However, with Dusan Poloz taking over at the helm of the national team in spring 2013, everyone in Slovakia hoped at the beginning of the qualification that the drought would come to an end – and so it did with Slovakia qualifying forthe EHF EURO 2014 following a crucial 24-all draw in June at home against France.
Poloz has a long-term strategy which is to first gain experience, enabling the team to then stand its ground against the big names in Europe. Key players in his team include 21-year-old Marianna Rebicova, who plays for IUVENTA Michalovce, and Petra Benuskova, who plays for DHK Banik Most in the Czech Republic.
Katarina Dubajova is by far the most experienced player in the Slovakian squad. Since 1998 she has been participating - with the exception of 1999 - in all the qualification matches Slovakia played for European Championships as well as for World Championships. The tally for the 35-year-old, who will celebrate her birthday during the EHF EURO on 9 December, just before the championship stands at 217 internationals and 835 goals.
Dubajova is regarded as a formidable left back who has played in various leagues across Europe including stints at VfL Oldenburg in the German Bundesliga and Frederikshavn in Denmark. She currently takes to the court for Olimpie-Beskid Nowy Sacz in Poland. And there is one more remarkable thing to be said about her: In her entire career she was not injured once.
At 32 middle Petra Benuskova brings a lot of experience to the Slovakian national team. From 2011 to 2014 she has been playing for DHK Banik Most in the Czech Republic. At the end of the 2012/13 season she won the Challenge Cup with the Czech side, a success to which she contributed 36 goals over the course of the cup competition. She now plays for Stella Saint-Maur in the French second league.
In the qualification for the EHF EURO 2014 she helped her team with 26 goals in six matches, five of them she scored in the crucial 24:24-draw against France in June, which granted Slovakia the one decisive point to qualify for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014. Benuskova is in particular known for her 'hit low' shooting technique that often hits the opponent's goalkeeper by surprise.
THE COACH - Dusan Poloz
In July 2013 Dusan Poloz signed a contract with the Slovakian Handball Federation until the end of September 2016 with the main task to end the 18-year long wait for an appearance at a major international tournament – something which he achieved pretty much straight away when Slovakia qualified for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 a mere year later.
Prior to taking on his new role, he had coached DHK Banik Most to victory in the Challenge Cup 2013 (Poloz then continued to coach the club alongside his national team duties) and internationally he had been Jan Basny’s assistant for the Czech Republic’s women’s national team at the EHF EURO 2012.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events