Christian Berge (48) has been the Norwegian national team manager since 2014, with a success that is unparalleled in the history of Norwegian men’s handball. The latest agreement between him and the Norwegian Handball Association (NHF) originally had a duration up to and including the 2025 World Cup.
– The longing to stand on the floor with my team every single day is great. The feeling has grown bigger and bigger lately, and I think I need a daily work to be as sharpened as possible in my job. Therefore, I have now informed NHF that the time has come for me to become club coach again, says Berge.
– We have respect for the fact that Christian wants this. At the same time, it is clear from the Federal Board’s side that our national team managers can not have another coaching job in top handball, says handball president Kåre Geir Lio.
The parties agree that Berge will resign as national team manager. He is thus free to start his coaching career at the club. Regardless of this, he will lead Norway for the last time during the Golden League tournament in Denmark in mid-March 2022, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Handball Association, Erik Langerud.
– We are very grateful for everything he has done in the eight years he has been national team manager. He has taken the Handball guys to heights we hardly dared to dream of. Therefore, we are sorry that this chapter is now coming to an end, says Langerud, who is the Trondheimer’s closest leader in NHF.
Under Berge’s leadership, the Handball Boys have established themselves in the top world elite. The tangible proof of this is the two World Cup silvers (2017 and 2019) and the European Championship bronze (2020) the team has secured during this period. In addition, it was fourth place in the European Championships 2016 and fifth place in the European Championships 2022, and in the Tokyo Olympics last summer, the Handball Boys participated for the first time since 1972.
– Under Christian Berge’s leadership, Norway have established themselves in the world elite. He has done a brilliant job for us, for the team and for everyone who loves Norwegian handball, says Langerud.
– We are very happy with Christian. . I would also like to praise Christian for the way he has behaved in the conversations we have had about his role, says handball president Kåre Geir Lio.
– It will be very strange to say goodbye to the guys and the support staff in March. It has been an enormously nice period, with experiences I will never forget. I also want to thank good colleagues in the Norwegian Handball Association and all the partners, says Berge himself.
NHF will use the time that comes to find the Handball boys’ new national team manager.
– This crossroads gives us an opportunity to look at how we can build on what Christian has created, and what we can improve and change around the national team. Secretary General Erik Langerud will now complete the practicalities in connection with the termination of the contract. Then the Federal Board and Langerud will start the process of finding the next national team manager, says Lio.
– We will present the solution when it is ready. The goal is to have a new national team manager in place by early autumn 2022, so that he and the team get the best possible run-up to the World Cup in Sweden / Poland in January 2023, says the Federation president.
Position: National team manager for the Handball boys (2014-2022)
Previous coaching jobs: Elverum (2008-2014), Junior boys / LM94 (2013-2014), AGF Århus (2007-2008, assistant)