Armel Atingre - 13th naturalized "lioness" and reinforcements for the attack on Paris

The girl born on the Ivory Coast, who played for France, received a Montenegrin passport and will make her debut tomorrow against Serbia. The main goal for which she was hired is the qualification tournament for the Olympic Games

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Reinforcement between the posts: Armel Atingre, Photo: DEJAN LOPIčIć / lob sport
Reinforcement between the posts: Armel Atingre, Photo: DEJAN LOPIčIć / lob sport
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

For months, it was rumored in handball circles that the "lionesses" will get a big boost before the World Championship in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

It didn't even take much "brainstorming" that it was in the plan, as soon as it is Armel Atingre fulfilled the first condition of the IHF for changing the national team - to be registered in a club from the country she wants to represent for a minimum of three years.

We were waiting for the paperwork to be completed, and everything was accelerated after a serious injury Marta Batinović, who had to have knee surgery and a long break after the great editions at the championship in Scandinavia.

Selector Bojana Popović and the people from the Handball Association of Montenegro had to react, they collected all the necessary signatures and on Monday got permission for the Buducnost Bemax goalkeeper to become a "lion".

The letter from the IHF arrived at the last minute before the qualifying matches against Serbia, so the 35-year-old born in Kađokro, Ivory Coast, who played for France from 2010 to 2014, will make her debut tomorrow in Zrenjanin.

"Atingre will be especially important after the serious injury that Marta Batinović suffered at the World Championship in December last year, which is why she expects a longer break. The goalkeeper born in the Ivory Coast will now with Marinom Rajčić form a great tandem in the goal of the 'lionesses' and be a significant asset in the fight to achieve the main goal this year - qualifying for the Olympic Games in Paris", RSCG announced.

The girl who has been one of the few bright spots of Budućnosti in recent seasons is happy to get a chance in the "lionesses" jersey. She has long since become at home among them, as she was also a member of the coaching staff at the 2022 European Championship, when bronze was won.

- I am sincerely happy that the country, my teammates and the coaching staff accepted me as a new member of the Montenegrin national team. I think they have confidence in me and want me in the team, that's the most important thing for me. I am very excited to start a new story and I sincerely believe that the fighting spirit that adorns the Montenegrin team matches mine. Let us have a happy start to this beautiful story - said Atingre, who has been at Buducnosta since the summer of 2020.

The experienced goalkeeper is not the first naturalized "lioness", probably not the last, but she is only the second one who is not from the area or originally from the former Yugoslavia. The first and so far the only one was the former player of Budućnost, a Hungarian Gabriela Kindle, who played in the first major competition of Montenegro - the European Championship in Denmark in 2010.

Most of the naturalized female players were from Serbia, who gained a reputation in the Budućnosti jersey. The biggest "sting" was Bojana Popović, who in 2008, when she was the best handball player in the world, accepted the invitation to perform for the country where she grew up and got married. The roads were similar Sanja Jovovic, Ana Radović i Mirjana Milenkovic, because they played only for FR Yugoslavia (or Serbia and Montenegro), while Katarina Bulatović i Ana Djokic they had to wait for three years to pass since they last played for Serbia.

For the Lionesses, she defended for several years Alma Hasanic, a girl originally from BiH who grew up in Norway and made her debut for the strongest national team in the world. Handball players born in Denmark, but with roots in Montenegro, also received passports - Ilda Kepic i Anastasia Marsenić, as well as two Croatian women - Batinović and Matea Pletikosic.

Atingre will therefore be the 13th handball player who had to be admitted to Montenegrin citizenship by "decree" in order to play for the "lionesses". Some of her predecessors left an indelible mark and made a huge contribution to winning medals, some played only episodic roles.

Hiring Atingra would pay off if Montenegro qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris in competition with Germany, Slovenia and Paraguay, at the tournament that will be played from April 11 to 14 in Ulm.

Only if the goal is not achieved, the question can be asked why they didn't get a chance Anastasia Babović, Ljubica Nenezić or some third...

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