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The Hungarian Handball Association (MKSZ) reported on its official websites that it extended the contract of the captain of the men’s national team, Chema Rodríguez from Spain, until August 31, 2028.

“We have extended the contract with national team captain Chema Rodríguez until August 31, 2028,” Ferenc Ilyés , president of the Hungarian Handball Association, began Tuesday’s press conference , referring to the fact that the Spanish professional will manage the Hungarian men’s handball team until the Los Angeles Olympics. – This is a four-year cycle, and we thought about an Olympic cycle because we found a national team captain in him who delivers results to us, and the results are measured not only by how many places we finish, but also by the fact that our young people – who are now going to the international into the field – use it and build it for us” – explained the decision by the first man of the MKSZ, after the team finished the European Championship in Germany in fifth place and won the right to participate in the Olympic qualifying tournament, i.e. it is still fighting to get out of the five-ring tournament in Paris for games.

“If someone now thinks that this extension is due to the good performance of the European Championship: we started the negotiations earlier, as we were satisfied with his work before and the European Championship has only shown that he is really capable of making our young and older players stand behind him in the line, as can be expected”, noted Ferenc Ilyés, who also spoke separately about Chema Rodríguez’s extension when asked by Nemzeti Sport.

“The extension is an important message to the team and the professional staff, we trust that, if only a few percent, it will add to our performance in the Olympic qualifiers. The common future does not depend on the qualification, tough battles await us in the qualifiers, we cannot expect to make it, at the same time we hope that we will succeed in a domestic environment”, the MKSZ president told, confirming that the Spanish specialist will remain regardless of the result of the Olympic qualifying tournament with the Hungarian national team, and in these four years he will only perform the tasks of the national team captain, and also help in the training after he will not manage the club team of the Portuguese Benfica from the 2023-2024 season.

“I am very happy to sign my new contract with a new duration. Now I can spend more time with the team. With the players and the federation, we are like a family and everyone is happy when they can continue with their families. It’s the best for me too. I thank the association for giving me the opportunity to continue and also for giving me the opportunity even after my playing career ended,” Chema Rodríguez said after the signing ceremony .

Chema Rodríguez arrived in Hungary as a player in 2012, when he transferred from Atlético Madrid to Telekom Veszprém. The Spanish manager spent five years with Bakony, then finished his playing career in France. He was still active when he became the second coach of the Hungarian national team alongside István Gulyás in 2019, and since the spring of 2022 he has been managing the national team as national team captain. The results came in nicely, the team performed well in all world competitions, except for the 2022 European Championship, which was partly organized at home, and the development was visible.

First, the rejuvenated national team, which was still captained by István Gulyás, finished ninth at the 2020 continental championship, and then fifth at the Egyptian World Championship a year later. Since the appointment of Chema Rodríguez, the second coach until then, the team finished eighth in the 2023 World Cup, qualifying for the Olympic qualifying tournament, and took fifth place in this year’s European Championship, which was the best finish in the history of the Hungarian national team. He also managed the Portuguese Benfica from 2020 to the summer of 2023, but since last summer he has been a full-time Hungarian captain .

The Hungarian national team will play Tunisia next Thursday, Norway on Saturday, and Portugal on Sunday in the Olympic qualifying group in Tatabánya. The first two places qualify for the summer five-ring games in Paris.

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