Álex Dujshebaev

The Future Of Spanish Handball

07/10/2019 · By Iñigo Esteban
alex dujshebaev openning
Alex Dujshebaev was top scorer of the 2018/19 Champions League, the first Spanish player to do so. © RFEBM / Álvaro Bermejo

Like father, like son. Legendary Talant Dujshebaev’s boy knows: “We have to make Spanish handball much more attractive.” At 26, Alex Dujshebaev just became the first ever Spanish top scorer of the Champions League. Let’s talk about handball and DNA.

You became top scorer in the Champions League and the first Spanish player ever to do so. Are you happy?

Actually yes, it’s very beautiful. I had no idea I was going to be the first ever Spanish player to achieve it and, of course, that makes it twice as valuable for me. I think collective awards are always much more important, but this other kind of recognition feels very good, and it makes me want to keep improving, both in the national selection and with my own team (KS Kielce, in Poland).

You’re the son and brother of top level players. Is elite sport something one has in the genes?

I don’t know if it’s genes or hard work. In the end, the fact that my father and brother are who they are means that, apart from having fun, we’ve been working hard to get here ever since we were little. The road to elite sport is tough, but if at home you have the support of people who understand you and certain situations, everything is more manageable.

You played the 2019 World Cup in the Spanish national team alongside your brother Dani. However, the selection finished seventh and did not reach the semi-finals. Is that still a thorn in your side?

Obviously. The World Cup left us with a bad taste in our mouths, because we didn’t get the result we were looking for. We started as one of the favourites, but we didn’t play well. Now we’ll try to fight so that in the next European Cup we’ll have a better result and forget about that seventh place in the World Cup.

We should improve the average level of our league, in both competitiveness and marketing. We have to sell the product better, we have to make handball much more attractive

What’s it like to play under your father’s orders at KS Kielce? Did he ask for you to be signed?

To have your dad as coach is atypical. My professional relationship with him has always been good. I’m just another player who fully respects his coach. When we are not on the pitch he’s my father and things are different, but on it, I’m one of the players on the team. As for my signing for Kielce, the president and the club had been interested in me for some time but, until two years ago, the stars hadn’t aligned. I suppose my dad also agreed with my signing, but I don’t know exactly if it was on his petition. I haven’t asked.

Would you like to play for a Spanish side again?

I’d love to return to Spain. I think that all Spanish players working abroad would. That thing people say about there being no place like Spain is true. The more time you spend away, the more you realise this. I don’t see it happening in the short term, but hopefully that’ll change in years to come.

What do you think our league is lacking, compared to other, more powerful ones like Germany or Poland?

The level of competitiveness in Spain with respect to France, Germany, Poland or Hungary is lower. We’re talking about leagues where competition is much fiercer and the overall level much higher. They’re competitive in all aspects. In Spain there is no real competition, because Barça are such a good team. Knowing who’s going to win the league before it’s even started takes out most of the fun. Which is why many players try their luck in other countries. Clubs disappearing and budget cuts don’t help, either. We should improve the average level of our league, in both competitiveness and marketing. We have to sell the product better, we have to make handball much more attractive.