28 June, 2014
06 July
Veronika Remenarova (SVK)
to read

SVK - History won't daunt Slovak Republic

BRATISLAVA (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) - Slovak Republic play-caller Igor Skocovski believes his players can embrace the challenge of taking a historic first step at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women and insists his team isn't going to the event just to make up the numbers.

Pitched into Group C with Australia, Japan and Mexico, the coach is hugely excited at what lies in wait for him and his players.

"Playing at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women is a big privilege for us," he said.

"It is a chance to compare where we are in the world as far as youth basketball is concerned.

"European youth competitions are well established, and I think these are arguably stronger than anywhere else.

"But we know that competing on the global stage brings some new big names such  as USA, Australia, Canada and China.

"Our group looks pretty levelled up apart from Australia, who are the favourites to win the group.

"It will be interesting to see how the standings will look after three games and who we will be playing in the next stage.

"We try to be as realistic as possible," continued Skocovski.

"We know that every game will be a big challenge for us, but we are not coming to just participate in the tournament.

"We are prepared to use every opportunity that comes at us and we hope to present Slovakia in the best possible light as we can."

While do-it-all wing player Veronika Remenarova could be an 'X-factor' for the newcomers, along with shooting guard Lucia Striesova and forward Miroslava Mistinova, the most realistic scenario is that only a committed and effective team effort will see Slovakia through.

"I always look for a team play, so our strength will come from all of our players - both from our starting five or players in rotations," agreed Skocovski.

"Our emphasis is also always on discipline, both on offense and defense, from which we will try to build an advantage."

Facing their older national U20 team colleagues last weekend, the side slipped to a perhaps predictable 67-52 defeat, but Skocovski is confident his players are now raring to go.
"Our preparation was good and we used our available time to prepare the best we could during the last seventh months," he said.

"Almost every single month, we have had a chance to work together for three days and it was the first time in long while, that any Slovakian national team was able to do so.

"We have played a total of nine games, with the last one being against the U20 Slovakian national team which was a good test for us.

"The chemistry in our team is excellent and we all feel excited about competing on the world stage when we get to step out in Pilsen."