Handball: Curtain-raiser cup-Early wins bode well for rest of season


Their latest triumphs came in Saturday’s curtain-raiser cup matches played at the Palais des Sports and coach Danny ‘Mathias’ Philoé believes this is just the beginning of what is going to be another fruitful season for his two teams.

“We are doing just fine early in the season and we intend to continue on this same line to make clean sweeps. We can do if we stay united and focused on achieving our goal,” coach Philoé told Sports Nation as players on his two teams – Mont Fleuri Storm and Super 8 – celebrated retaining the curtain-raiser cups disputed by the previous year’s league and Seychelles Handball Federation (SHF) Cup winners

In fact, Mont Fleuri Storm did sweep all the titles on offer last year and they look good to achieving the feat again this season.

MONT FLEURI STORM… Can they achieve back-to-back clean sweep?

Spearheaded by player of the year Claire Marguerite, Mont Fleuri Storm beat main rivals Royale Queen, who finished as runners-up in the Mohan women’s league and SHF Cup last year, by a 10-goal margin – 28-18 – to capture the retain the curtain-raiser title.

The Storm led 14-7 at half-time and although coach Emmanuel Larue’s Royale Queen got 11 goals in the second half, it was not enough as coach Philoé’s players netted 14 more goals to put the match away and collect another win.

Veteran Marie-Claire Chetty again top-scored for Mont Fleuri Storm with eight goals, while former player of the year Thelma Sauzier paced Royale Queen with five goals.

In the men’s match, defending league champions Super 8 distanced themselves from last year’s SHF Cup winners PLS Hurricanes in the second period to earn a 45-34 victory in what looked likely to be a tight game.

After going for the breather with a three-point – 23-20 – advantage, Super 8 pulled away through a series of set moves and fast plays which PLS Hurricanes were unable to match.

Super 8 increased their intensity in attack with Selwyn Dick scoring seven goals and player of the year Leeroy Laure adding five to help their team outscore PLS Hurricanes 22-14 in the second period and cruise to a 45-34 victory.

Super 8 players celebrate their win

Dick finished with the highest goal tally of 13 followed by Laure with nine, while Bradley Stravens got seven goals for PLS Hurricanes who lost goalkeeper Nelson Laporte and Elvis Leopold through red cards.

The curtain-raiser cup matches are disputed by the previous year’s league and cup winners.
The women’s match is between reigning league and cup champions Mont Fleuri Storm and Royal Queens (formerly Arsu) who finished as runners-up in both competitions.

The weekend before, Mont Fleuri Storm and Super 8 had registered wins in the season-opening Challenge Cup tournament contest by nine teams – four women and five men – and played on a knockout basis.

In the finals, Mont Fleuri Storm defeated Teens 36-20 with 10 goals from Marie-Claire Chetty and Leona Zacek, and Super 8, with Reynold Nicette finishing as the match’s top scorer with 12 goals, were victorious on a 41-34 score against Durantha Brothers.

Mont Fleuri Storm and Super 8 will switch their attention on to the Mohan Shopping Centre-sponsored national league starting Saturday February 25. The league will be followed by the SHF Cup.

But although coach Philoé expects his sides to play well to eventually claim the league and SHF Cup, he said his focus this year is leading his teams to the Indian Ocean Club Championship in Mauritius in November.

“I know it’s going to be tough for Super 8 to challenge for the men’s title, but I have high hopes on the Mont Fleuri Storm team. I believe they have the necessary ingredients to go all the way to the final.

“Playing well in local competitions will help boost the teams’ morale ahead of the annual tournament regrouping all champions of the Indian Ocean region. Even though we are nine months away from the IOCC, I feel it is important to make the players understand that preparation for the tournament has already started and they need to stay focused on what they have to do to be ready on D-day,” said coach Philoé.

G. G.

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