05 Feb. 2024
After Austria finished on the 19th place at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship, the Austrian Handball Federation (OEHB) decided that it was time for a chance, as former coach, Herbert Müller parted ways via a mutual agreement, after a 19-year stint at the helm of the Austria women’s senior national team.
"We made this decision together with a heavy heart, but together with Herbert Müller we came to the conclusion that a new impulse was needed in the national team. Herbert Müller deserves a big thank you for his commitment to Austrian women's handball, which goes far beyond his role as team boss went out," said Markus Plazer, the President of the OEHB.
Müller, who led the team from 2004 to 2023, and had 236 matches under his belt, overlooked Austria in five editions of the IHF Women’s World Championship, with the best finish being the 10th place at China 2009, as well as three EHF EURO editions, with the 10th place in 2006 being the best performance.
"I support this decision, but at the same time I am proud and grateful for the past two decades and everything we have achieved together. I wish the team and the OEHB much success for the tasks ahead and the home EURO 2024," said Müller.
After a thorough process of replacing Müller, the OEHB have identified Monique Tijsterman as Müller’s successor, with the Dutch coach being one of the most experienced candidates available, as the IHF Lecturer is embarking on a new challenge, after leading the Netherlands’ women’s national team at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship.
“After the first contact, there were no doubts in my mind that I wanted to look after the Austrian women’s national team. I know Austrian handball and many of the players. I’m really looking forward to working with the players, the association and all the coaches,” said Tijsterman, according to the official website of the OEHB.
Tijsterman’s first challenge will be the EHF EURO Cup 2024, where Austria are facing Norway, Switzerland and Hungary, before the team return to the EHF EURO for the first time in 16 years, as co-hosts of the EHF EURO 2024, where Austria are expected to deliver their best performance since 1998, when they finished fourth.
“We have a clear goal for our home EURO and that is the main round. Until then, I need to get an overview of the players and talents in Austria and see who can help the national team. In addition, I will work very closely with all young trainers. Our plan is to develop a uniform game book for the coming years in order to implement a uniform system from an early age and close the gap between the young talent and the senior national team,” added Tijsterman.
The 54-year-old coach has plenty of experience in her native Netherlands, with being in charge of promoting and fostering talent in the HandbalAcademie, the conveyor belt which delivered fantastic players for the Dutch national teams over the past decades.
Tijsterman was also leading the team which clinched the bronze medal at the 2010 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, securing another bronze and two silver medals at the younger age categories at the EHF EURO in 2007, 2011 and 2019 respectively.
“We are very proud to have hired Monique Tijsterman, not just one of our dream candidates, but one of the greatest personalities in Dutch handball. She led the Dutch association to the top of the world and trained many of today's world-class players. We hope that she will provide impetus for the national team but also for the association. Her experience and knowledge should also be incorporated into the training of the players in our academies and in the clubs. With regard to our home EURO, we are confident that we have found the right person in Monique Tijsterman,” concluded Markus Plazer, the President of the OEHB.
Photo credit: RFEBM / Á. Bermejo