A hint of samba in Braila
The Danube is flowing peacefully through Braila and it is, practically, the highlight of the city and its highest source of income.
While people like strolling the boardwalk and take in the views, for years, Braila have also had another exciting thing to watch in their city: a meaningful handball team.
Prior to the pandemic, fans were flocking to HC Dunarea Braila's important matches, with the arena sold-out at nearly every game, including in the Romanian league.
Their best European performance was the semi-final in the Women’s EHF Challenge Cup in the 2007/08 season, but with a revamped side, Braila look like they mean business this season.
The Romanian side are unbeaten in the first two games in the EHF European League Women, boasting three points ahead of their double-header against Hungarian powerhouse Siófok KC.
It is truly a story about team chemistry, with players from six different nationalities playing for the Romanian side.
And the glue that keeps them together is a Brazilian line player, Tamires Morena Lima.
The 26-year old line player has plied her trade in Brazil before coming to Europe in December 2014 to sign for Hungarian powerhouse Györi Audi ETO KC, who were navigating through an unprecedented injury crisis.
Lima de Araujo then embarked on a wide-ranging journey with stints at Mosonmagyaróvár, French side Cercle Dijon, Norwegian powerhouse Larvik HK, then back to Hungary and Kisvarda, only to find herself at Braila since the summer of 2019.
At home in Romania
“I feel very good here and it was not hard to adapt. The Romanian language is easy for me, it is a lot like Portuguese, so I could understand everything our first coach, who was Romanian, told us. Also, I could understand my teammates, so everything was much easier than in my previous clubs.
“I was very surprised when I came here because the people are like in Brazil, a bit hot-headed, but very warm and they welcomed me with opened arms. I feel at home, I can say this is my second home,” Lima de Araujo told eurohandball.com.
Now an integral part of Braila’s challenge for European glory, the Brazilian line player hails the team spirit in the Romanian side.
She scored 11 goals in the European League so far but makes her mark in defence.
Despite not boasting stars, rather focusing on very good role players, Braila are one of the surprise packages of Group D, taking a 29:27 home win against Fleury Loiret, prior to a 25:25 draw against Kuban.
“Our mentality is very good, but our team spirit is the best weapon we have. Every player here is buying in, everyone is trying hard to be better each day. We need to show each game why we are here and that means we have to fight until the end of each game,” said Tamires Morena Lima.
Brazilians are notoriously outgoing and improve team chemistry and Braila’s line player is no exception.
“I mean, I always like to play handball with a smile upon my face, there is no point in doing it otherwise. We like to joke, we like to feel good and enjoy handball as much as we can. Winning will also help, of course, that is our main objective, but I want to do it my way,” added the 26-year-old.
When everything works out just fine, let us just say that Lima is responsible for a new tradition in Braila.
“I talked to the girls and we just decided that we will dance on the court after every win. And they chipped in, it is a very good feeling.”
What about samba?
“Well, that is actually harder, but if we win enough, maybe I will teach the girls some moves,” Lima concludes.