Hungary’s Eger Heroes add strength, join title race

The Hungarian Football League is gearing up to kick off the 2017 season on March 25th. We continue to preview the six teams with 2016 semifinalists the Eger Heroes up next. AFI’s László Makranczi sat down with Heroes president Zsombor Herke to ask him about the upcoming season.

President Zsombor Herke praised the work of head coach László Szeredi, and he is hoping that the team will make it to the final.

The Eger Heroes caused a big surprise last season by reaching the semi-finals in the HFL as a first year team. After starting with two losses, the turning point of their season came when they beat the Budapest Cowbells in Eger. Then they got two crucial wins, the first in Nyíregyháza and the second in Győr. The Heroes finished third in the league standings and travelled to Felsőzsolca to take on the Miskolc Steelers.

Eger Heroes president Zsombor Herke

However, Eger could not avenge their regular season defeat to the Steelers and lost in a thriller 39-32.

However, László Szeredi’s tactical genius returns to the club for another spring term and the coach brought some new playmakers. The Heroes signed a new quarterback, Khalid Ali and a wide receiver, Anthony Green, who can also play as a running back. In addition, Christopher Murray returned in the defense as well. Considering the power rankings the team of Eger takes place among the top clubs.

Herke hopes the team wins the championship in 2017. He also gives a great credit to László Szeredi for his work and for making the Heroes stronger.
Photos: Viktória Dajka, András Pazár, Richárd Szabó

You caused the biggest surprise in 2016. Did you put the expectations higher?
Herke: Our goal this season is to repeat what we did last year. However, this time we do not want to stop at the semi-finals. Every game we worked together as a team, only minor mistakes caused our defeats. We would like to fix these and reach the final this year. I am sure, our American imports and Hungarian newcomers will help us with our goal.

Photo: Richárd Szabó

How important is László Szeredi’s work for the club?
Herke: I think, consciously building a team is rewarding. Coach Szeredi is the keystone of our development. In the near future, we would like to add new coaches to our staff. Our aim is to make László Szeredi’s job easier, since he is doing a whole staff’s work.

Coach Szeredi is also a good scout and agent. How much does this count?
Herke: A lot! He found many good players for the club earlier. This year, he brought back Chris Murray, and found 3 other talented imports. Our philosophy is to sign players, who can help us build and develop the future generation.

What kind of players did you sign?
Herke: First of all, we brought players that could replace those, who left our team. We wanted to have players, who can decide games not just by their skills, but by their poise.

Do you think that we will have a more exciting season in 2017?
Herke: I am sorry that the Nyíregyháza Tigers had to continue in Division II, but I think the teams are equally matched this year as well. I do not know if 2016 can be repeated, however, I can assure everyone that the Eger Heroes is going to have a much stronger team than last year.

Regular Season of Eger Heroes:
April 9.: Győr Sharks (Győr)
April 22.: Budapest Wolves (Eger)
May 7.: Budapest Cowbells (Budapest)
May 20.: DAK Acél Dunaújváros Gorillaz
June 3.: Miskolc Steelers (Eger)

Eger Heroes established in 2005
Home Field: Szentmarjay Tibor Stadium
Coaching Staff: László Szeredi
New Players: Chris Murray, Chris Hall, Anthony Green Jr. Khalid Ali, György Purcsi
Championships: HFL 3rd place (2016), Division I champion (2015

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American