Michael, you visited the organisation Play Handball in Cape Town in South Africa at the beginning of this year. What was your motivation to do so, and how did you get in touch?
Michael Haaß: I planned to make holidays with my wife in Cape Town. I was curious and looked up in the internet: Cape Town, South Africa and Handball. One of the first matches was the handball project of Nicola Scholl (Play Handball/Red.). I read about it and found it directly amazing and a very commendable dedication. I wrote to the organisation and told them that I will be in Cape Town and would like to see it.
Did you know Nicola before?
No. My only thought was; if I am going to travel around the world, I could also look out at the same time for people who play as well handball like me. I really like the social link and Nicola was directly keen to get me involved in the project.
And how was the visit?
It was only a short visit, due to school holidays. But a few people who facilitate the handball gathered and we did a short training session together.
Outside in the sun …
… exactly, in the sun. It was totally different for me, but a lot of fun.
And how did you like Cape Town?
It is a great City. The only drawback is that you rely on a car. But the city is amazing. My wife was pregnant at this time and we spend only ten days there. For this reason we did not see more from South Africa. It was a relative short trip for such a long travel time, but I was happy that I could combine it with handball as well.
How is the contact to Nicola and the project since then?
We have now and then contact and I am sure that I will come back another time. If so, I will definitely help in any kind I can to support the handball in South Africa. Handball is there still a marginalized sport. I try to stay informed via the internet, Play Handball is very active in the social web such as Instagram or Facebook. So I am always up to date and try to give idealistic and uplifting support from this side.
Could you imagine to become a coach at a later stage of your sport career, maybe even for children and youth teams?
Definitely, but for now the professional handball is my main focus. I believe there is a lot of potential in children and youth handball.What I saw in South Africa is: Handball and Sport in general open doors for your life, there are a lot of opportunities out there and sport helps us to reach them.
Interview by Ruwen Möller, Oktober 2017