Africa beats Asia as Angola and Republic of Korea end campaign

10 Dec. 2023

Africa beats Asia as Angola and Republic of Korea end campaign

African champions Angola defeated Asian champions Republic of Korea in their final main round match in Trondheim, to end their 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship with a win.

Main Round, Group II
Angola vs Republic of Korea 33:31 (20:15)

Both teams wanted to end their time in Norway with a positive result ahead of the next seven months of preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, for which both are already qualified.

But, ultimately, this was the story of goalkeepers and Albertina Kassoma.

Kassoma is Angola’s line player who seems to be Everything Everywhere All at Once, just like the multiple Oscar-winning Hollywood film.

And just like that movie, she puts up a fight and takes a fight equally well.

In front of goal, she scored 11 out of 12 attempts (92% effectiveness) and with that, took home the award for the best player of the 60 minutes. But it is also her dominance in defence too, towering over the Korean attackers in this meeting, ensuring that had to work hard to get around her.

Her five strikes in the opening 10 minutes contributed to a 9:4 lead, and a Koreans time out, but the five-goal difference extended to six inside the next 10 minutes (15:9), despite the best attentions of the impressive Ryu Eun Hee and Bitna Woo in Korea’s attack.

Angola gradually extended the gap to seven (26:19, 38th minute) and that was enough as Korea pushed in their battle, complete with their best return on fastbreaks in this championship (9/9), outscoring their opponents for the remainder of the match (12:7), but the gap was too much and they could not catch up completely.

Kassoma’s effectiveness was compounded by Korea’s goalkeepers’ performance. The pair of Jinhui Jeong and Saeyoung Park could manage just four saves in the first half (17% save rate), adding a further six in the second period to end with 10 from 43, but that 23% rate will need to double at least if they are to be competitive next year in France. In the Angola goal, Marta Alberto ended with 16 saves.

It was no surprise that Kassoma was voted in as best player of the match – in Angola’s six matches at the championship, she has played over 50 minutes in five of them, registering five hours and 14 minutes on court out of a possible six hours in total.

At the end of the match, Henrik Signell and the rest of his Korea coaching staff were deep in conversation with stony faces, while Nelson Catito, Vivaldo Eduardo and Carlos Viver and the rest of the Angolan coaches were celebrating on court with their team.

“They were better today, to me it is obvious that we lack tall, stronger players and we are not really used to this European handball,” said Signell after the game. “We have improved in many ways but we still have some hard work to do together with this young team. I wanted to end with a win so it is a disappointment of course.”

For Angola, their Norwegian experience has been useful – an impressive one-goal loss against France in their opener, followed by useful experiences against Iceland, Norway and Slovenia and two main round wins.

Korea, on the other hand, never really showed their full potential, but with a mixture of youth, experience and some missing players returning, they could be an altogether different proposition next summer.

hummel Player of the Match: Albertina Kassoma (Angola)