2023 IHF Female World Player of the Year nominees revealed

22 Feb. 2024

2023 IHF Female World Player of the Year nominees revealed

The coveted IHF World Player of the Year award has undergone a swift makeover, as the International Handball Federation (IHF) have decided to refresh the yearly award reserved for the best players in world handball.

2023 marks the return of the usual IHF Male World Player of the Year and IHF Female World Player of the Year awards, while two new trophies, which underline the penchant for identifying and nurturing new talents, have been introduced.ย 

Over the last months, the International Handball Federation have redesigned the structure of the trophy, which was previously decided by a fan vote, with the last editions seeing five players go head-to-head for the coveted prize in each category.ย 

The fans still have a say in the final standings of the IHF World Player of the Year awards, but the new formula sees an equal percentage of the final decision between three categories, for a better representation and a level-playing field for all the nominees.ย 

The fans will still have the power, as the votes casted will represent a third of the final standings. Another third will be reserved to the coaches that led their national teams at the IHF Menโ€™s World Championship and the IHF Womenโ€™s World Championship. The IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM) will have the final third of the decision, with the awards being sealed by the player that has the best percentage throughout the three categories.

For all categories, three players have been shortlisted by the IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM), based on their performances in 2023, having impressed throughout the last year on the courts. The nominated players will be presented on a category-by-category basis over the next days.

For the 2023 IHF Female World Player of the Year, the nominees are Franceโ€™s left back Estelle Nze Minko, Norwayโ€™s left back Henny Reistad and Swedenโ€™s line player Linn Blohm, all members of the All-Star Team of the 2023 IHF Womenโ€™s World Championship.

Estelle Nze Minko (France)

Nze Minko has never impressed through her scoring prowess, but the 32-year-old left back has been an integrant part of Franceโ€™s success over the last decade. The title secured at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023 has been Nze Minkoโ€™s second, after the one at Germany 2017, with the left back earning her third medal, with the silver at Spain 2021 completing her impressive collection.

However, Nze Minko has been superb in terms of leading her side, being the brain behind Franceโ€™s success, on both sides of the ball at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023. She placed ninth in the top assists standings, with 31 dimes delivered in nine matches, as well as fourth in the number of steals, nine in nine matches.

At club level, the 32-year-old left back made the EHF FINAL4 with Gyล‘ri Audi ETO KC, but missed out on the title, as the Hungarian side finished third in the European top competition, but Nze Minko still scored 64 goals, her third best season in the EHF Champions League Women.

Henny Reistad (Norway)

After becoming the All-Star left back at the 2021 IHF Womenโ€™s World Championship, Henny Reistad was named the MVP of the 2023 edition, after some stunning displays, including a fantastic 15-goal outing in the semi-final against Denmark, where Reistad singlehandedly carried Norway to the win and a place in the final.

The 25-year-old left back, undoubtedly the new face of the Norway womenโ€™s handball team, scored 52 goals at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, finishing second in the top goal scorer standings, while also delivering 24 assists, being a true team player and taking responsibility whenever needed.

While Norway sealed the silver medal, Reistad secured her second medal at the world handball flagship competition, after the gold at Spain 2021, and is on pace to become one of the best scorers in the history of Norway, as her current 4.1 goals per match average is the third best in the teamโ€™s history.

Reistad also was the top goal scorer of the EHF Champions League Women, with 142 goals in the previous season, helping her side, Team Esbjerg, reach the EHF FINAL4, yet they finished fourth, with two losses in Budapest.

Linn Blohm (Sweden)

Back in 2019, Linn Blohm was selected as the All-Star line player at the IHF Womenโ€™s World Championship, with a superb performance on both sides of the ball. Four years later, she was one of the anchors for Sweden, who tied their best-ever performance in the world handball flagship competition, the fourth place.

Blohm scored 25 goals at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, but she had an outstanding efficiency, 86.3 per cent, while being a crucial cog in Swedenโ€™s defence, with six steals in eight matches, an impressive performance for a tall and strong defender.

At club level, Blohm had 58 goals for Gyล‘ri Audi ETO KC, her best-ever season in the EHF Champions League Women, delivering some exquisite performances for the side that finished third in the European premium competition.

The voting will be open for the fans from Monday, 26 February, from 16:00 CET, to Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, therefore two full weeks for the fans to vote for their favourites and help them win the prestigious award.ย 

All the votes will be casted on the IHF official website, with voting cards readily available after all the nominees for all the categories have been presented. After Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, no votes will be available to be cast.

Voters are reminded that performance in 2023 should be the sole consideration, and that competitions or matches played in the early stages of 2024 do not form part of the decision for the 2023 awards.