Presenting the 2019 IHF World Coaches of the Year nominees

03 Jul. 2020

Presenting the 2019 IHF World Coaches of the Year nominees

As part of the celebration of the first International Handball Week, the IHF is proud to announce the nominees for the 2019 IHF World Coaches of the Year. A panel of top coaches and IHF experts have decided the final five nominees for both men’s and women’s team coaches. 

Coaches are designated by category based on the gender they coach, with the male team nominees working with men’s teams, and the female team nominees leading women’s teams.

Fans will decide the award winner between the finalists (more information below). The winners will be announced at the end of International Handball Week on 18 July. And the nominees are…


Male team nominees

Nikolaj Jacobsen
Denmark / Rhein-Neckar Löwen (until June 2019)

Nikolaj Jacobsen’s most notable 2019 success was undoubtedly the historic first world title won on home ground in January at the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship hosted by Germany and Denmark. Denmark had never raised the World Championship before, and they did it after a perfect run of only victories on the path to the podium in Herning. 

Denmark’s world title win was hardly ever in doubt. Even in the high-pressure final stages, the World Championship co-hosts had little trouble, defeating France 38:30 in the semi-final and Norway 31:22 in the final. 

Alongside his role as head coach for Denmark, Jacobsen was head coach for German Bundesliga club Rhein-Neckar Löwen until the end of the 2018/19 season, leading the side to fourth place in the German championship that year. Löwen reached the Last 16 in the Champions League, where they were eliminated. 

Christian Berge

Christian Berge was Jacobsen’s opponent in the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship final, after leading Norway to the trophy match for the second consecutive time. 

The two sides were drawn into the same preliminary round group, and therefore also met at the end of the first stage. Denmark were the only team to ruin an otherwise perfect record for Norway at Germany/Denmark 2019. 

In the preliminary round, Norway beat all the same opponents as Denmark – Tunisia, Chile, Austria and Saudi Arabia – before suffering a 26:30 loss to the ultimate world champions. In the main round, Norway overthrew Sweden, Egypt and Hungary to reach the semi-finals. There, Norway knocked Germany out of the running for the title with a 31:25 win.

Berge’s work with Norway has now seen them reach the semi-finals in four of the five most recent major international championships. 

Roberto Parrondo
HC Vardar / Egypt (from May 2019)

While Roberto Parrondo took the helm of the Egypt men’s national team in May 2019, his biggest 2019 success came prior to that and on a club level, as he led North Macedonian club HC Vardar to the title in Europe’s premier international club competition, the Champions League.

Vardar had survived a challenging season to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and secure a place at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2019 in Cologne, Germany. In the semi-final, they pulled off a miraculous comeback after trailing Barcelona by seven goals at half-time. In the end, Vardar qualified for the final with a 29:27 win. The North Macedonian team clinched the title with a 27:24 victory over Telekom Veszprém. 

Following the Champions League win, Parrondo changed his focus solely to the Egypt men’s national team. 

Maik Machulla
SG Flensburg-Handewitt 

In 2019, Maik Machulla celebrated his second straight title with Flensburg in what is regarded as the toughest domestic league in Europe, the German Bundesliga. Out of 34 matches in the season, Flensburg won 32. 

The domestic championship victory also meant Flensburg secured a place in the Champions League 2019/20 season, for their 15th participation in the top international league. 

In the Champions League 2018/19, Flensburg made it to the quarter-finals, but were eliminated by eventual season finalists Veszprém. 

Didier Dinart

Didier Dinart rounds out the list of nominees voted in based on their team’s performance at the 2019 IHF Men’s World Championship. At Germany/Denmark 2019, Dinart led France to the bronze medal thanks to a thrilling last-second victory over Germany in the 3/4 play-off. 

France topped their preliminary round group after four wins, versus Brazil, Serbia, the Unified Team of Korea and Russia, as well as one draw, against Germany. Germany passed France in the main round standings, with France beating Spain and Iceland in that stage, but losing to Croatia. Still, the second-place finish in the main round was enough for France to reach the semi-finals. 

After the disappointing semi-final loss to Denmark in Hamburg, France vied for the bronze medal against Germany in Herning. A last-second counter attack goal scored by Nikola Karabatic earned France the bronze medal. 

Female team nominees

Emmanuel Mayonnade
Netherlands / Metz Handball

2019 was an exceptional year for Emmanuel Mayonnade. In the first half of the year, he led Metz Handball to the semi-finals in the Champions League – a first for any French club. 

Metz had an outstanding season, recording just two losses in the preliminary and main rounds. At the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4, Metz lost narrowly to Russian club Rostov-Don in the semi-final, then were defeated by Vipers Kristiansand in the bronze-medal match. Nevertheless, it was an historic qualification for the event and Metz were established as a top powerhouse in Europe with their results. Mayonnade also won the French championship with Metz in 2019. 

Mayonnade took the post of Netherlands head coach in January 2019. In December 2019, he led the side at his first major championship as a national team coach – and made it all the way to the podium to celebrate the Netherlands first ever world title. 

The Netherlands had four wins and one loss in the preliminary round, then one victory and two defeats in the main round, but it was enough to qualify for the semi-finals. There, Mayonnade led the team to defeat Olympic champions Russia, before they overthrew Spain to take the trophy. 

Carlos Viver

Carlos Viver was Mayonnade’s opponent in the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship final. His side, Spain, lost the final narrowly, but their semi-final performance was one of the most memorable at Japan 2019. 

Spain reached the semi-finals after topping their preliminary group thanks to five straight wins – versus Romania, Hungary, Senegal, Kazakhstan and Montenegro. In the main round, Spain drew with Sweden, defeated Japan and lost to Russia, ranking second and booking a semi-final place. 

In the semi-final, Spain produced an exceptional defensive game and always appeared to have the upper hand over Norway despite a level score line at half-time. The ‘Guerreras’ (warriors) proved worthy of their nickname in the semi-final and again in the final, but were ultimately defeated by one goal in the trophy match. 

Nevertheless, it was the first time Spain reached the Women’s World Championship final and hopes are high for Carlos Viver’s squad at the next edition on home ground. 

Ambros Martin
Russia / Rostov-Don

After many years leading top Champions League club Györ, Ambros Martin moved to Rostov-Don before the 2018/19 season and led the team to the final of the Champions League in his first year with the side. Rostov lost just two matches in the regular season, both to Metz Handball. 

At the EHF FINAL4, Rostov finally defeated Metz, 27:25 in the semi-final, and reached the trophy game. Martin’s Rostov lost the final to Györ by just one goal. However, Rostov did celebrate victory in the Russian championship.  

Later in the year, Martin led Russia at the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship – his first event with the team after replacing Evgeny Trefilov in August 2019. Russia had a perfect record of only wins in the preliminary and main round. They made it to semi-finals for the first time since 2009, but lost the semi-final to the Netherlands. Russia clinched the bronze medal with a 33:28 win against Norway. 

Gabor Danyi 
Győri Audi ETO KC

Gabor Danyi had the tough task of filling Ambros Martin’s shoes when the Spaniard departed Győr, but Martin’s former assistant coach proved he was up to the task when he led the side to their third straight title in his first season as head coach. 

With Danyi’s guidance, Győr extended an incredible unbeaten run in the Champions League, which saw them undefeated since January 2018. Recording only wins in the group phase and main round, Győr effortlessly qualified for the quarter-finals. Győr took a decisive quarter-final win to reach the FINAL4, beat Vipers Kristiansand in the semi-final, and won the final versus Rostov by one goal. 

Danyi also led Győr to Hungary’s domestic championship title in 2019. 

Thorir Hergeirsson

As head coach of Norway, Thorir Hergeirsson’s headlining achievement in 2019 was reaching the semi-finals at the IHF Women’s World Championship in Japan in December. 

Norway had a strong campaign at Japan 2019, recording four wins and one loss in the preliminary round. The wins came against Cuba, Slovenia, Serbia and Angola, before the one defeat, to eventual champions Netherlands. In the main round, Norway defeated Denmark, Republic of Korea and Germany to secure their semi-final ticket. 

In the semi-final match, Norway could not get past the Spaniards, ultimately losing 22:28 after they kept the game level at half-time. Norway would go on to claim a fourth-place finish. 

Voting details

This year, the IHF will incorporate the voting and announcement of the 2019 IHF World Players of the Year and 2019 IHF World Coaches of the Year awards into the celebration of the first annual International Handball Week from 12 to 18 July. Fan voting for players and coach of the year runs from Friday, 3 July until 00:00 CET on 18 July. The IHF will announce the winners on 18 July. 

In order to vote, you must be logged in. Then, click on IHF Awards, choose your category and vote for your 2019 IHF World Coaches of the Year.