One to watch: Gergö Fazekas - following the footsteps of his father
Only 16 years young but already leading the national under-18 team: centre back Gergö Fazekas is regarded one of the outstanding talents of Hungarian handball.
Fazekas was expected to step into the limelight at the M18 EHF EURO 2020 in Slovenia this summer, but the tournament has been postponed until January 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The youngster, a player of Veszprém’s second club Veszprémi Kézilabda Kft., is a son of Nándor Fazekas, the former national team goalkeeper with more than 200 appearances, who retired after the 2019/20 season at age 43.
Nándor Fazekas played for more than two decades for clubs like Veszprém, Gummersbach and, most recently, Balatonfüred.
An easy decision to pick handball as a kid
So handball was an obvious choice in the Fazekas family. While Gergö’s youngest brother is a goalkeeper like their father, Gergö and his other brother are both centre backs.
For Gergö it was an easy decision to pick handball as a kid, falling in love with the atmosphere of the German Bundesliga while his father played there between 2006 and 2009.
“We can say that this is a family heritage, but mostly the atmosphere of Bundesliga matches and the arena in Cologne resulted in my commitment to handball,” says Gergö Fazekas.
“The lights, the tone of the venue and the top-quality players. Since I have been able to walk, the ball has always been in my hands. To be honest, nothing else really attracted me,” adds Gergö Fazekas, who also likes horse riding as a hobby.
"Passion is what I appreciate the most"
A sport career usually includes many unpredictable circumstances if you want to be on the top, but Gergö Fazekas tries to foresee most possibilities and to prepare for the next steps.
“For me the passion, the feelings that I can share with my mates is what I appreciate the most in handball. I always want to win however when we don’t, I enjoy the next game’s extra emotions and power. This drives me to perform better and give more and more,” says Gergö Fazekas, adding that injury risks worry him.
“Even the most talented player can step back many levels after a serious fracture or sprain,” he says.
"My role model is my father in every part of life"
When it comes to heroes, Gergö Fazekas has a few.
“Mikkel Hansen, Andy Schmid, Sander Sagosen, they keep me on the edge of my seat. During matches I try to focus on them and learn from all of their moves. The way they play handball perfectly helps my style,” he says. “I enjoy watching centre backs who can create opportunities to the others while they can also score when it is time.”
However, his biggest hero is his own father.
“Of course, my role model is my father in every part of life. The way he handled his career and his life, his successes prove everything.”
Veszprém is one of the best places in Hungary to learn handball. Although the city is obviously known as the home town of Telekom Veszprém HC, the city’s second club is rising.
One of the reasons is the top management, which can bring out the best of young, talented prospects.
At Veszprémi Kézilabda Kft. Gergö Fazekas has worked with coaches like József Éles, Nikolett Szedlák, and Csaba Tombor.
“I was taught to evolve continuously and crave for more and more. I am told that I have a good sense of this game, but the fundamentals of handball should be learnt,” he says.
"I am not afraid of taking quick decisions"
Even his father, who was goalkeeper, can teach him lessons on how to score.
“To be honest, it happened this way. This is how I can support our side the most. I love this position and I am not afraid of taking quick decisions in critical moments, actually those are the moment in handball I play for,” Gergö Fazekas says.
At only 16, he is already a starter at his club team, playing in the domestic top-flight championship.
"One of my dreams is to play in the EHF Champions League"
Gergö Fazekas lives in the present and looks ahead to the future with his goals already taking shape.
“Right now, my most important intention is to keep our club in the first league as we have just been promoted. I am very proud that we forced this opportunity with many of my old friends, mates,” he says.
And in a few years’ time?
“Naturally, as all handball players, I would love to experience the atmosphere of LANXESS Arena, not only from the grandstand but on the court,” he says. “It is one of my dreams to play in the EHF Champions League.”