Sterbik: The better the game in defence, the better the goalkeeper

When Arpad Sterbik is between the goal posts, the work of his teammates is eased, but the opponent is under an additional pressure. Regardless of his age (40), Vardar's goalkeeper plays as in his best days. Every ball that would pass through the defence, it would end up in his hands.

The Macedonian team is the leader in the SEHA League, the most serious candidate for winning the trophy, and with realistic chances to reach the EHF F4 tournament. The fans call his name often after his masterful saves, and since his arriving in Skopje, he has been their favourite player.

Thanks to Sterbik, Vardar has won many matches, and the game in defence has been more secure when he was there to correct their mistakes. His game has improved since his coming to Skopje. He won the Champions' League, the SEHA League and the national trophy. Last January, he won the European title with his national team.

For years, Sterbik has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

* This season, you showed that age is not important when it comes to achieving good results. Is there a secret, the older-the better?
"I do not think that age is important. As you get older, you are more experienced, but you lose your physical condition. This year, our game in defence was excellent and we are physically strong. Maybe that is why we are good on all matches. The goalkeeper cannot win a match alone, there should be a kind of an agreement with the defence players. The better the defence, the easier task for the goalkeeper."

* You were the joker in Vardar many times. The same happened with Spain on the EC. What did you first think when they invited you to play the semi-final?
"First, I wanted to reject them, but I had to go because they had only one junior goalkeeper. I told the head coach that I could only help, because mu shape was not so well, I had not played for a while, and until then, Corrales was good. Luckily, we won the gold medal."

* Do you think the opponents' players are afraid of you when they see you between the goal posts?
"Maybe, but you should ask the players. There are many situations, for example when the player jumps from the 9-meter line and Borozan and Kristopans are in front of him, he first thinks how to pas them, and later me."

* Is there a player that is especially inconvenient, and his shots are hard to save?
"No, there is no such player. There are many quality players today. The Scandinavians have excellent players, and even the French. I respect all of them, regardless of the team they play for, and their experience."

* Is it hard for you to motivate before matches, especially because your colleagues are younger than you?
"You have to constantly prove yourself on matches. You cannot win a match only based on your past merits. Sometimes it is hard to give your best. Sometimes you save 8, but sometimes 20 shots. However, when you play well, it is easier to go home after the match, regardless of the outcome."

* This season, Vardar is very self-confident in all competitions – the SEHA and the Champions' League. Is there a team that cold stop you?
"We could beat ourselves. We had many injured players, but we finished the year successfully. We reached the EC healthy. There are other challenges ahead and we all work on achieving our goals."

* You have already secured placement on the SEHA League F4 tournament and Vardar could be the 2nd team to win the trophy two seasons in a raw, or its 4th trophy.
"We will fight to win the SEHA F4 tournament. There are few serious candidates for the trophy – Zagreb, Meshkov and Celje. I do not know where the tournament will be played. Celje is a serious team, and they proved it in the Champions' League. If the F4 will be in Slovenia, they will be the favourites."

* At the end of the season you will leave Skopje. What is your wish before saying good-bye to the red-black jersey?
"I wish the team and me could achieve the best result and be satisfied at the end of the season."


Tuesday, 13 February 2018 - 16:13