EuroBasket 2013 is just around the corner and Slovenian hearts are beating to the beat of the basketball team
In September 2013 , Slovenia will host the European Basketball Championships. The pulse of basketball can be felt everywhere. Fans’ hearts are beating in time with their Slovenian basketball heroes, who are deep into their preparations for the greatest sporting event in the history of Slovenia.
The main aim of the players selected by Božidar Maljković is to qualify for the 2014 World Basketball Cup in Spain, but their secret wish is to win a medal too.
For the second time in their history, there will be 24 teams competing at the 38th European Championships on 4–22 September.
The first round of the championships will be hosted by the Bonifika Hall in Koper, Podmežakla Hall in Jesenice, Zlatorog Hall in Celje and legendary Tivoli Hall in Ljubljana.
The best twelve teams, divided into two groups of six, will advance
to Round 2. This part of the championships, and the finals that follow, will be held at Stožice Stadium in Ljubljana. Each team in Round 2 will play three games, while the matches from the quarter-finals on will be played on a knock-out basis.
In Round 1, Slovenia will play in Celje. Their first match will be against the Czech Republic on 4 September. On the following day they are due to play Spain, then Georgia (7 September), Croatia (8
September) and Poland (9 September).
In Round 2, Slovenia’s group will play against group D, made up of Russia, Greece, Italy, Finland, Turkey and Sweden.
EUROBASKET 2013 GROUPS:
Group A (Ljubljana): France, Great Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Belgium, Israel
Group B (Jesenice): FYR of Macedonia,
Lithuania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Serbia
Group C (Celje): Spain, SLOVENIA,
Croatia, Poland, Georgia, Czech Republic
Group D (Koper): Russia, Greece, Italy, Finland, Turkey, Sweden
THE SLOVENIAN TEAM BEGAN THEIR PREPARATIONS ON 19 JULY
The preparations for the Slovenian senior team began 47 days before the start of EuroBasket 2013.
National team coach Božidar Maljković first invited 16 players to take part. On his list of candidates to wear the national kit were Jure Balažič, Jaka Blažič, Jaka Brodnik, Goran Dragić, Zoran Dragić, Jaka Lakovič, Luka Lapornik, Domen Lorbek, Gezim Morina, Edo Murić, Klemen Prepelič, Uroš Slokar, Gašper Vidmar, Mirza Begić, Nebojša Joksimovič and Boštjan Nachbar.
The Basketball Federation of Slovenia made sure that training
conditions for our basketball stars were absolutely fantastic this summer. In the prepar tion period, the team members have been perfecting their play and strengthening team spirit in various locations throughout Slovenia. Rogaška Slatina, Ljubljana,
Zreče and Kranjska Gora are tried and tested preparation bases where the players and team management always feel great.
Fans – the sixth player on court
The fans are also proof that Slovenia is a basketball country. They are renowned throughout the world as knowledgeable about the sport and follow their team’s every move. Slovenian fans have already been a real hit in Span, Poland, Turkey and Lithuania.
There is little doubt that they will take the role of the sixth player at the European Championships at home, as tickets for matches involving the Slovenian team were sold out in the blink of an eye.
Slovenian team players and management are not the only ones who are aware that Slovenian fans play a very important part in the sport. The EuroBasket 2013 Organising Committee has made fans the main stars of the video of the official EuroBasket anthem In the Beat of Basketball, performed by Zoran Predin and CoverLover.
With this, the Local Organising Committee wished to emphasise the importance of Slovenian fans for the success of the team and the championships as a whole and to show that fans have a special
status in the country and that cheering for the Slovenian team feels great. Foreign visitors will also enjoy the special experience of being a fan in Slovenia.
SLOVENIAN NATIONAL TEAM ON SOCIAL NETWORKS WITH #JUNAKI (HEROES) HASHTAG
This year, during the preparation period and EuroBasket itself, the national team will use the official Twitter and Facebook hashtag #junaki, under which fan opinions and forecasts will be collected
and, more importantly, the team’s victories will be celebrated.
The choice of the phrase is the result of a successful trial to unite Slovenian fans on these favourite social networks. It was developed
when the Slovenian handball team competed at the World Championships. The hashtag then was #HeroTeam, and now the handball team is passing the baton to the basketball team, which will inspire us in the autumn. In the basketball euphoria accompanying the matches of the Slovenian team this year, we should remember that both those on the court and those cheering in the stands are all heroes.
The EuroBasket this September will certainly be one of the most evenly contested to date, looking at the teams. At least ten teams can be counted among the favourites for medals, so in addition
to good training and daily form, luck will definitely play a part.
According to experts, Spain, France and Montenegro are the main favourites. Then there are Lithuania, Russia, Turkey and Serbia. The wider group of favourites also includes Slovenia, but every championship brings one or two surprises.
One thing is certain: the road to ultimate success will be long and hard for any team. Many teams, including Slovenia’s, have faced losing players. But as the saying goes, needs must when the devil drives. In any case, we are in store for some excellent basketball in September in Jesenice, Koper, Celje and Ljubljana. And of course we hope the Slovenian basketball stars will play the leading role.