New Italy coach Meo Sacchetti is ready for the new challenge, leading Italy into November’s FIBA World Cup qualifiers as he spoke for the first time about his national team appointment.

Sacchetti accepted the national team role, succeeding Ettore Messina, who recommended the current Vanoli Cremona coach to the Italian Basketball Federation.

During his playing career, Sacchetti was a member of the Azzurri side that claimed a silver medal at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

He will guide Italy to the qualifiers, where they face Italy against Romania, Croatia and the Netherlands starting in November.

In an interview with Corriere dello Sport, Sacchetti said: “Without taking away anything from other former players, for a player that has played in the national team to go on to coach them has a different taste. It’s something special and particular.

“I’m excited, and I’m not one who knows how to mask his feelings,” he said. “I’ve always liked the challenges, and this is a great challenge. Italian players need to have more fire.”

Italy, meanwhile, have announced that Lele Molin, Massimo Maffezzoli and Paolo Conti will serve as Sacchetti’s assistants.