Dániel Buday: „EHF EURO 2022 will be a quality (sports) experience!”
A series of interviews until the start of the European Championship: we ask the dominant Hungarian handball players of the last decades about the Hungarian tournament, their previous European Championship experiences and expectations.
The 93-time national team player Dániel Buday was one of the dominant playmakers of the 2000s in the national team, attending two world championships and one European championship. He started this sport in Szeged, where he became one of the city’s favorites, and then he also played in the big rival Veszprém and then abroad, in the teams of Rhein-Neckar Löwen and Schaffhausen. He ended his career here at home and is now proving his coaching career. He sat on the bench of Orosháza and Mezőkövesd, but most recently he saddled in the women’s field, leading the Budaörs team to Hungarian First League.
He says the European Championship will be an exceptional opportunity for fans as they can watch the best of the world up close.
You won the second division (NBI/B) with Budaörs unbeaten, you successfully took the obstacle with a women’s team in the first year. Pretty good start.
In the summer, I jumped into this adventure, the mysteries of women’s handball, but I was positively disappointed. The team, the girls, worked well and we won this crazy championship due to the viral situation. We have the first goal, next year we will be the member of the first division, which is already another level where you have to meet bigger requirements. We will try to prepare the team to the best of our ability. I clearly wanted to work in a place where we could fight for serious goals, so it was really an expectation to get up.
In this sense, the championship title was not necessarily a surprise, not so in the first division, where both Ferencváros and Szeged ousted Győr and Veszprém from the throne. How do you comment this?
On the men’s line, it was clear that the two teams were close to each other, as Szeged had a great structure. At Veszprém, it seemed earlier that the machinery did not necessarily work well, and in the final, based on the two matches, Szeged’s victory was fully deserved. They took shape, everyone gave his best, Veszprém could not unfold. It was a huge surprise for the women that Győr lost the championship with a big advantage, but we have to raise our hat in front of Ferencváros.
What has women’s handball given you this year?
Well, maybe I’m a little more nervous… Anyway, the girls worked conscientiously, proving what several people emphasize, they don’t cheat on the job. Of course, it’s harder for a women’s team to build the game system, to design the combinatorial game, but they tried to do everything I asked. Obviously the game is slower here, to which I have to adapt too, but the basics of the sport are the same. I love doing that particular job, it was done here now, but it was an easy thing for me because the leaders trusted me, they gave me a free hand in shaping the roaster, and I can follow my own thoughts on a daily basis.
We are slowly approaching the European Men’s Handball Championship in January. How do you see the Hungarian national team?
In our time, we also had the opportunity to perform well, perhaps much more than we finally brought out, though we still had nice successes. Now, on the other hand, I see that the composition, the cohesion, the team unity are the best possible, the Hungarian national team is very much together. They have found a common voice with coaches, club leaders and players, it seems like a very well-functioning system right now. I am also a little envious, at that time there was no chance for the home tournament, and now the national team can perform in an imposing hall of 20,000 people. If the opportunity arises, they can certainly play in front of a full house, and we know that this is the dream of every athlete. So I’m really looking forward to the European Championship, the show, and the whole atmosphere that will surround the tournament. Handball has improved a lot, I’m sure the organization will be super and everyone who visits will have a good time.
What makes the Hungarian team better now?
There are many reasons, but a young generation has finally arrived whose members hit physically, tactically and technically the level they expect from the best. I am thinking here of Szita, Dominik Máthé or Bence Bánhidi, who has developed into a world class. Next to them there are stable points, such as Ricsi Bodó or Roli Mikler at the goal. We managed to find the right people, in the past the distance between the members of the national team may have been too big. Now we have the harmony.
The Hungarian team will play against the Netherlands, Portugal and Iceland in the group stage. What do you think about the opponents?
I don’t think it’s a bad group, and let’s not forget that with the support of the domestic audience, we’re not unlikely to be against anyone. The European Championship is always difficult, although now it will be after the Olympics, the big question is how the teams will vary, who will stand for the tournament. In recent matches, the guys have proven that they can compete with anyone. We still have half a year, in the meantime we can continue to develop, and I hope the injuries also avoid the team. In addition, the organization of the domestic league should be arranged in such a way that the team has as much time as possible to work together.
How do you see the European field?
Handball has changed a lot, it’s enough just to think about its speed, dynamics, or just the referee’s perception. The Olympics can really be a turning point for several national teams, certainly the big old ones will “hit” everywhere again, and then a kind of rejuvenation may begin. Of course, the big nations have such a youth base that they can always recruit the team, so they are always in a good position to perform well. It’s always a big question in a world competition what kind of force the host represents: all I can say is that we’re doing pretty well.
What do you expect in Szeged and Debrecen?
On the one hand, I am confident that world situation will be okay and there will be an opportunity for cheering, because if that is the case, I am sure that many will go out to the matches. The sport has evolved so much in recent years that the matches of the best national teams are a real sporting experience and attract people. In Hungary, people love handball, and cheering has its own culture, and let’s not forget that Szeged is very close to Serbia and Croatia. In addition, there will be additional programmes on the part of the organizers, so this tournament will be a very good programme.
You recently became a European master trainer. You wrote your dissertation from the 7 against 6 game. How much has this tactical element emerged in recent times?
Anyone who watched the events could see that Kiel, if not because of that, but won the Champions League against Barcelona, Germans also needed it, used it successfully because had developed a lot in this element. But Szeged also used it, when he got into a little ups and downs against Veszprém, they scored 2-3 goals. If you think of yourself as a serious team, this element of the game should be in your bag. It doesn’t always have to be pulled out, but it can be touched if needed. The same is true with defense: whichever team has only one tactic won’t go much, you have to be at home in the six-wall, 5-1, 4-2, and 3-2-1 as well.
How do you remember the EURO 2004 where you could take part of?
It was a very difficult tournament. The European Championships are always the toughest world tournament, with 90 percent of the world’s best players coming from Europe. At that time, the qualification system was different, we became sixth in the World Cup before, thus gaining the opportunity to participate in the Olympics. We closed in 9th place in Slovenia, but we didn’t have to be ashamed, I think.
How much does a player feel about the garnish on the court? How do you feel about the mood around the tournament?
Athletes are also people, everyone has enough tension, adrenaline. I don’t even dare to think about what it will be like if the house is full, the Hungarian national team runs in front of 20 000 people. People are hungry for quality sports, for a sports experience. It will be that kind of. I played in Szeged, in Veszprém in front of a large audience, and in Germany constantly in front of 15 000 people, it is a fantastic feeling, and these conditions cannot be ruled out. You have to be somewhat independent, but you should also keep in mind that entertaining your audience is also important. After all, this whole game is made up for this.