One of the new faces of Telekom Veszprem, Vladimir Cupara, talked for SEHA Gazprom League website about his experience of playing in one of the biggest European handball teams.
– Of course there is pressure. Pressure to win the Champions League, we all talk about it, but our first step is to make it to the Final 4. After that, we will see, things become easier. Veszprem never won the Champions League, which means that represents some sort of pressure. Four times in the final there was no luck, but one day that will be over, and I hope that moment comes this season. Of course, as every member of Veszprem, I believe it will be like that, but we need to go one step at a time. We had a bad spell of matches in Champions League, with two consecutive losses, and then a loss to Kielce. But for now, things are looking good, we are in second place, and we can even aim for the first place, which is our goal. Maybe we feel even more pressure about winning the title in Hungary, Pick Szeged have a great team.
You defeated MOL-Pick Szeged 29:28 in the Hungarian derby, and you made a save in the last attack. So far, you are perfect in the national championship, in SEHA – Gazprom League, Telekom Veszprem are leaders in the group, and even the first position in the Champions League group is not impossible. Everything is going according to plan?
We will play many more matches against Pick Szeged, 3 or 4 including the Cup, and this was one of the most important matches this season. I am very happy because we won, on our court, everything apart from a victory would have been a bad result. The atmosphere in the hall is always fantastic, Veszprem Arena is full, and it’s beautiful to play here.
Did you ever think you would play in one of the best handball clubs and share the locker-room with Arpad Sterbik?
When I started to play handball in Vozdovac at 16 years old, I didn’t ever dream of playing with Arpad Sterbik 10 years later. I had a tough path, from Vozdovac I went to Zvezda but everything ended nicely there. After that I went to Ademar Leon, a Spanish giant who faced a lot of problems the season before I joined. But, when I came there coach Raphael Gijosa compiled a fantastic young team who immediately achieved success that same season, and it was 3rd place. The next two seasons we secured 2nd places and managed to return the club where it belongs. After that I signed with Polish giant, Kielce where I played in a stronger Champions League group for the first time. Alongside my fantastic teammates, some of the Balkan guys like Cindric, Mamic, Ivic, Janc and Zorman, we managed to secure Champions League Final 4 which was considered as a great success for the club. It was really a season to remember because we won both the title and the Cup. I only remember nice things from Kielce.
And now you are playing in famous Veszprem Arena…
Without a doubt, Veszprem are one of the biggest handball clubs and of course, they can equally stand beside Barcelona or Kiel. I am really happy to be here and I enjoy it every day. Each match in Veszprem Arena makes me proud, not only because of my success, but because of all the people that helped me get to where I am now. However, I know that I still have a lot to learn and to give. The first part of the season is almost over and I am satisfied with results we achieved so far. On the contrary, I am not so satisfied with my personal performance, but that’s normal for the period of adjustment. Veszprem Arena, our fans, expert staff, the players… I wake up every day happy and go to bed happy because I know that tomorrow I will have the chance to train and play with some of the best players and that the best coaches are training me.