28/11/2018

Three rising stars with huge potential

THREE TO LOOK OUT FOR #8: Remember these names: Henny Reistad, Noemi Hafra, Dione Housheer. They are the rising stars of EHF EURO 2018.

Hungary's Noemi Hafra will bring her experience from the EHF Champions League to the EHF EURO

It has always hard to predict how far a young talent can actually make it, as so many factors can affect a career.

However, there is no doubt that the three rising stars who conclude our Three To Look Out For series possess the potential to make it really far under the right conditions.

Henny Reistad, Norway

Norway’s national coach Thorir Hergeisson is known for nominating a talented young player for nearly every major championship, simply to give her a taste of these special events.

Some might think that Henny Reistad is another one of those.

She is not. She is more than that.

There is no doubt that the 19-year-old centre back from Vipers Kristiansand is going to play a major role at the EHF EURO 2018 in France.

Her ability to organise her team’s attacking play is already beyond the usual skills of a 19-year-old, and her feints are also at a very high level.

The fact that she is also good in defence makes her one of those players who are strong at both ends of the court – the type all coaches are yearning for.

Already at the age of 17, she made her debut in the Norwegian league for Stabæk IF, where she was a regular in the league team for an entire season.

She has also gained valuable international experience from several junior World Championships and European Championships with a silver medal at the 2018 Junior World Championship in Hungary as her finest achievement.

This summer, she joined Norwegian champions Vipers Kristiansand, where she instantly became a valuable partner to the experienced playmaker Marta Tomac.

The experience she has gathered there, not least in the Women’s EHF Champions League, will also come in useful to her and Norway in the French arenas.

Noemi Hafra, Hungary

20-year-old Noemi Hafra has already contributed 39 goals in six matches for FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria in the Women’s EHF Champions League this season.

There is no doubt she will need all her Champions League experience at the EHF EURO, where she will be getting an even bigger role than expected due to the many injuries that have hit the Hungarian team – just as injuries in the FTC team this autumn have given her a bigger role there.

She has spent all her senior career at FTC, developing rapidly and impressively. Playing in the Champions League every year has given her plenty of valuable international experience.

At 1.8m tall, she is a fine height for a female backcourt player, and she makes good use of her height to launch her refined and varied shots.

Considering the fact that Hafra has only recently turned 20, she has already developed the crucial handball skills she needs. She is a great reader of the game and good at judging when to take the chance with a shot – but she is not always easy to read for the opposing defenders.

Noemi Hafra is likely to become an important asset to Hungary at this EURO.

Dione Housheer

Dione Housheer has only just turned 19, but she is already a name on the handball stage. Aged 16, the left-handed right back was named MVP at the U18 European Open in Gothenburg in 2016, after the Netherlands finished fourth in the tournament - and then became EHF Player of the Month for July/August, much to her surprise.

The following year Housheer scored the winning goal for VOC Amsterdam in the Eredivisie final against Dalfsen, holding her nerve to convert a penalty. It was VOC's first Eredivisie title since 2010, but they followed it up with another win in the 2017/18 season.

At the start of the current season, Housheer joined Danish club Nykøbing Falster Håndbold and helped them to qualification for the group phase of the Women's EHF Cup earlier this month.

On the international stage, the 1.79m tall Housheer has been a member of the Dutch youth and junior teams since joining the national handball academy at 15. At the Junior World Championship in Hungary earlier this year she scored 62 goals for the Netherlands, making her the team's top scorer. She was also the top scored at the Women's 19 EHF EURO 2017 with 61 goals.

She has played seven matches at senior level for the Netherlands, and was in the provisional roster for the 2017 World Championship although she did not make the final team. Dutch coach Helle Thomsen picked Housheer for two of the EHF EURO qualification matches, and she scored six times in the Dutch 42:16 rout against Kosovo in June.

Make no mistake - the EURO will not be the last time you see this lively young redhead on the international handball scene.

written by Peter Bruun / jh