Offendal out of her comfort zone in Paris
It is easy to see how satisfied Nadia Offendal is with her move to Paris 92. The Danish centre back joined the French capital’s club from Odense Håndbold only last summer, but on court it looks like she has been there for a long time.
Last Sunday, Offendal impressed with an 11-goal outing that helped Paris 92 edge Vaci NKSE 34:33 in their European League group phase opener.
Off the court, though, it took her a couple of weeks to settle in her new environment.
“These first months have been challenging. Even though Denmark and France are not far apart, there are many cultural differences,” Offendal says. “But that is exactly what I was looking for leaving Denmark, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.”
Seeing things from another perspective
Living in a foreign country has helped the Dane to see things from another perspective. Being a foreigner in France is not always easy, but Offendal is trying to make the best of the situation.
“Being away from my family is perhaps the hardest thing for me, as I’m very close to them,” she says. “But I had time to pay them a visit during the break in November after the game in Nykøbing, I stayed in Denmark for a week and that was really a good thing.”
Getting out of her comfort zone was the off-court goal for Offendal, but the same applies to her handball as well. She might not be comfortable speaking French yet, but on the court Offendal is definitely speaking the same language as her teammates.
“I feel like I needed some time to find my feet here, and that is normal. Leaving Odense, I was looking to have more responsibilities, and I definitely have them in Paris,” she says. “And the girls here are so sweet and nice that it is actually very easy to find your place in this team.”
“The fans' support means a lot”
Apart from her new teammates, Offendal also feels the support of the Paris 92 fans, even though they have been kept away from the arena for quite some time now.
“It is difficult for them, but we try to also give the best on the court for them. Their support means a lot and we do miss them at the moment.”
After strong performances in the French league, Offendal also impressed on continental level last weekend, when she scored 11 times against VAC in Hungary.
Also, in the decisive qualification round in November she netted nine times against Nykøbing.
“It was very important for us all to reach this group phase. It is a completely different mindset, I think, because these qualification rounds are almost like finals, like you lose and you are out.”
“Always special playing against Danish sides”
Last season with Odense, Offendal advanced from the group phase of the EHF Cup and later qualified for the semi-final, before the competition was cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak.
It is still a long for Paris but the club started the group phase well last weekend and is eager to add another good result when hosting Herning-Ikast Handbold in round 2 on Saturday (16 January) at 18:00 CET (live on EHFTV)
It will be a special match for Offendal, crossing paths with a lot of players she knows.
“It is always special playing against Danish sides. I am really looking forward to this game and playing against players I know from Denmark.”