The Spanish División de Honor Femenina, the women’s first division, recently named as Liga Loterías), kicks off this weekend and this season is expected to be the most equalized in recent years due to the changes in the teams rosters.
This summer, the reigning champion, Balonmano Bera Bera, have lost two important players who have moved to France, María Núñez and Patricia Elorza, also members of the Spanish National Team. However, the team from Donostia has signed Alicia Fernández from Aula, Tania Yáñez from Zuazo Barakaldo and Judith Sans from Alcobendas. These new additions will soften the departure of two key players for this team, which have just won the first title of the season: the Spanish Super Cup. The conducted by Montse Puche lifted the trophy after a 18-17 victory over Rocasa Gran Canaria, Bera Bera’s toughest opponent in the past few years. The squad from Canary Islands has not made too many changes this year (only Haridian Rodriguez moved to Mecalia Atlético Guardés) so their core remains the same, which means that they will continue to be a rough competitor this season.
For the past few seasons both Bera Bera and Rocasa have been the two teams to beat by the rest of the contestants, but things might be different this time around thanks to the interesting reinforcements signed by some of the teams. Atlético Guardés will now count with pivot Paula García who came from French UMBB, goalkeeper Estela Carrera from Alcobendas, Rodriguez from Rocasa and right back Anna Manaut from Granollers; while the new acquisitions from Zuazo Barakaldo include German left back Laura Steinbach, goalkeeper Merche Castellanos coming from French team Le Havre, and the outstanding centre back Jessica Nogales, who is back to the División de Honor after a season in Sporting La Rioja from the second division.
Little by little, more teams in the Spanish women’s handball league are increasing their competition level, but still the precariousness in which the sport is involved makes teams such as Bera Bera have to say no to EHF Champions League, and with it let go off their ambitions to do great things in the continental sphere. That is the sad reality Spanish handball is going through nowadays, but even so, passion and love for this sport never decreases in those who really live by and for it, and the ones who hope the beginning of Liga Loterías this weekend will be an example of that. Definitely, this will be the most equalized season of the last years and probably, the most interesting too.
By Nagore Odriozola Juaristi