Photo: Nebojsa Parausic

The head coach of the Serbian national team, Igor Kokoškov, and new captain Aleksa Avramović talked via “Zoom” with media from Serbia about “balloon” in Finland.

The national team of Serbia gathered on Monday in Finland to participate in the qualification “bubble” for the EuroBasket 2022. The first opponent will be Switzerland on the 28th of November, while Igor Kokoškov’s squad is going to face Finland on the 30th of November.

This afternoon, the coach Kokoškov and Aleksa Avramović held a press conference via “Zoom”. They talked about opponents and preparations.

The new captain, Unicaja Malaga player (on loan in Movistar Estudiantes), Avramović told the press that the team will give their best while playing for Serbia.

“Most of the players (9) came two days ago, and participants in the derby (game between Partizan and Crvena Zvezda) joined afterward. Only Simonović (Marko) will join later. We have already had three practices and we have got a lot of information during those practices. With a lack of time, we have to memorize a lot of data for Switzerland and Finland. We will be ready for the games. Ready to give our best for Serbia, to win in both games”, said Aleksa Avramović, who was honored to receive the captain’s role.

“I am really honored about the captain’s role during this ‘window’. The motivation has never been a problem, neither for me nor any other player in the team. We all know what is our goal. We came here to get both wins, to play tough, to show that we are one of the best national teams in the world”, said Avramović at the press conference.

Igor Kokoškov mentioned the situation with COVID-19 and the challenging time we are all living in.

“Unfortunately for us, we are living in this time, we were unable to gather in Belgrade. To talk face to face with the journalists. We are expecting Simonović to join on Friday, and the other guys are already here. We have already had three practices and we are going one step at a time. The problem is definitely time. This kind of competition is something new. This is a pioneer’s project of FIBA. We are all locked in a hotel, every team has its own floor. It is some kind of better, high-quality ‘prison’. But we know why are we here. We are here to represent our country. This is some kind of challenge. The challenge is because Switzerland and Finland are coming with the same teams that are playing in all kinds of competitions. They can always gather the same players. For us, many new names, a lot of information. They have well-coordinated teams, but we are not without motivation here. We came to win these games and we will act accordingly”, started Igor Kokoškov.

The first rival of Serbia in this balloon in Finland will be Switzerland, and the coach Kokoškov respects them.

“We learned about them a lot during the windows they played before. They have a lot of players from Balkan and play Yugoslavian basketball. We didn’t have time for a deeper analysis, we will watch videos and do scouting for the first time tonight. They deserve to be respected. In Georgia, they lost after overtime and they have enough potential to play a good match. The main quality is the fact they are playing together for a long time. In that way, they are ahead of us. We will try to find our advantage in other segments and to play a good game. I respect the opponent a lot, they are playing together for a long time and they have energy on the court”, Igor Kokoškov concludes.